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Student Outcomes in Selected Distance Learning and Traditional Courses for the Dallas County Community College District: A Pilot Study

Description: The study compared outcomes for distance learning courses with those of traditional courses offered by the seven campuses of Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD). The course outcomes were defined as completion rate, dropout rate and success rate. Eleven courses offered during the fall 2003 semester were selected for the study. The methods of instruction employed for each course were traditional classroom lecture/discussion and distance learning formats of Internet, TeleCourse and TeleCourse Plus. Internet courses are delivered on-line, using Internet access and a browser, TeleCourse uses one-way videos or public broadcasting, and TeleCourse Plus is a hybrid between Internet and TeleCourse courses. Seven of the courses selected were part of the core curriculum approved by Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) while four other courses were completely transferable. Two types of specific data were extracted: course data and individual student data. Course data included method of instruction, length of course, instructor's load, enrollment, number of withdrawals, and grade distribution. In addition, course requirements including the use of email, videos and Internet, orientation and testing on campus were added as variables. The student data included demographic variables such as age, gender, ethnicity, family status, employment and academic variables including number of credit hours completed, previous distance learning courses, grade point average (GPA), grades, placement scores, previous degrees held, withdrawal history, and financial aid. The theoretical framework for ensuring sound statistical analysis was Astin's student engagement model. The results showed that significant differences exist due to the three distance learning methods of instruction for all course outcomes studied. Completion and success rates are higher for traditional courses and dropout rate is higher for distance learning ones. The outcomes for Internet courses are closer to the rates of traditional courses. Student factors that relate to performance in distance learning courses are GPA, credit ...
Date: December 2004
Creator: Borcoman, Gabriela
Partner: UNT Libraries

Faculty training and professional development programs designed to impact Web-based instruction in higher education: A faculty perspective.

Description: Web-based instruction has fast become a common component of higher education. Although such instruction began as a supplemental form of interaction, it has now become a basic aspect of many college courses and degree programs. If teacher and student are not in the same place at the same time, it becomes necessary to introduce a communications medium that will not only deliver information but also provide a channel of interaction between them. This study focused on faculty training and development programs designed to impact Web-based instruction in higher education at the five largest state-funded universities in Texas within a college of education. The instrument used in this study was developed by the research to collect data relating to faculty perception of training and development opportunities available to them at their institutions, perceptions of administrative support, and technical support. The objective was to determine if there was a relationship between these items listed above and faculty members' levels of confidence and perceptions of effectiveness when teach Web-based courses. The population consisted on 151 faculty members at the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, the University of Houston, the University of North Texas, and Texas Tech University. This research study suggests that full-time tenure track faculty members at the five largest state-funded universities in Texas perceive that the amount of formal training they have received increases their ability to teach Web-based courses effectively and that the amount of formal training received also increases their perceived level of confidence when teaching Web-based courses. The researcher discovered similar results when faculty members were asked about their perceived level of institutional commitment and current initiatives for teaching Web-based courses.
Date: May 2007
Creator: Greenwood, Joey
Partner: UNT Libraries

International Distance Learning in Special Education: A Program Evaluation of a US-Ecuador Collaboration

Description: The internationalization of distance learning in special education is at a pivotal point in expansion. Even with concerted efforts through traditional means to increase the supply of special educators, shortages persist; therefore, teacher preparation programs are turning to online education. This dissertation study was a formative program evaluation of a bilingual, two-course sequence within a web-based special education master's program offered at the University of North Texas (UNT), in Denton, Texas, and at the Universidad Casa Grande (UCG) in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The research design was based on the unfolding model of program evaluation, and it included mixed-methods of data collection. The model focused attention on (1) scientific evidence, (2) cost-benefit differential, (3) underlying values, and, (4) unintended consequences. Data came from archived documents as well as six semi-structured interviews with stakeholders and survey data from 23 student participants. The findings for the general-orientation course, Special Education Programs and Practices, revealed mixed results concerning multicultural awareness on the part of student participants. However, it seemed to have influenced their lesson design and made a difference in other areas. Some multicultural awareness concepts frequented the discussion board. The specialized course, Assistive Technology, which had more frequent communication between UNT and UCG on the discussion board, suggested larger increases in students' multicultural awareness. With respect to both courses, the stakeholders recommended that the structure be strengthened for non-bilingual instructors and students to be able to communicate more freely. Translation issues were a top priority in both courses. The study has implications for other international distance education programs.
Date: August 2010
Creator: McPherson, Rebekah
Partner: UNT Libraries