- Posted May 28, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Online Universities Offer New and Improved Technology
Improved technology at online universities now offers instant, real-time access to virtual classrooms capable of handling communication for thousands of students simultaneously.
Online courses are developed as module-based courses across degree programs; each course consists of substantive modules and a final evaluative/integrative module. Each module includes background readings and materials written by the professor; the background component includes multimedia presentation and web-based library references. Background materials are aimed at providing college students with the knowledge needed to work on the course assignments.
Online universities provides student to faculty and student to student interaction and engagement, with an online discussion component intended to elicit discussion between faculty and students and among the student group with the specific goals for students to engage other students in a meaningful asynchronous exchange in response to a provocative or relevant issue statement. Faculty members then stimulate further discussion and interaction among the student group while clarifying unclear topics as needed.
Information Technology is the backbone of online universities, and the strategy develops the university’s educational approach and the student learning-centered environment created by the learning model. Technology capabilities are built in a continuous development mode as additional needs arise. The IT department serves as a conduit for the development of the online university. The IT solution provides administration and faculty the ability to easily manage students’records. In addition, students are able to manage their own records through the system.
The IT system can manage degree plans, transfer credits, course waivers, prerequisites, and course replacements. Alumni are able to contact the university, as well as administrators and staff, to manage alumni records. The system integrates finance and financial aid records for students and administration, and allows administrative users to manage a complete student record, from the initial student’s application, enrollments, transcripts, grade reports, statuses and more, up until graduation. For faculty, the system allows review of assignments and enables feedback to students.
The integrated IT system allows online university faculty committees to assess course quality as well as student learning outcomes. Finally, since all of the above mentioned activities are archived, including students’ work and assignments, as well as faculty feedback and all assessment activities by faculty, the system provides the online university with a unique transparency and the appropriate database that may be used for comparative studies and long term education assessment activities. In addition, the system has the capacity to provide the various reports needed for staff and faculty.
The learning model enables online universities to develop and improve the learning outcomes or what the learners expected to achieve by attending the University. For online degree programs offered by the University, the learning model directs the institution to: ensure that all learning outcomes are covered; reflect on the bench marking results for the common body of knowledge for each online degree; design the curricula and courses for each degree program to cover all its learning outcomes; review, assess through bench marking and improving the common body of knowledge for each degree.
In order to assess education outcomes at online universities, evaluations of education as demonstrated by the course case assignments, session-long projects and threaded discussions are reviewed for course improvement. Students’ self-reflective papers, which are required in the last module of each course, are also used to assess and improve the direct learning in each course within the program. At the end of each program, the capstone course also provides a means of gauging and revising the direct learning in the particular program.
Feedback that faculty provides to students is assessed on case assignments and session-long projects, as well as the quality of faculty participation in course threaded discussions. All students are surveyed for their satisfaction with the various aspects of, and input regarding, the quality of their learning experience. Exit surveys of students including all graduates solicit their feedback on various aspects of the academic program. Lastly, alumni opinions of academic programs and the program’s impact on their career are measured and reviewed.
Source: Trident University