This Fall, I’ll be leading a pilot evaluation on the effectiveness of several OLI online courses in community colleges across the United States. Unlike the free online courses that institutions of higher education are rushing to produce right now, the OLI courses will be used by community college faculty who are teaching students face–to-face in classrooms.
We are looking for community college faculty teaching Statistics, Anatomy & Physiology, Biology and Psychology to participate in this exciting research. In addition to receiving access to some state-of-the-art online courses, participating faculty will receive a small stipend. Please join if you are ready to be part of the largest research project in hybrid course effectiveness done to date!
Previous studies (done at Carnegie Mellon and one much larger external evaluation by Ithaka S+R in particular) have examined outcomes for students in the OLI Statistics course. Those studies found that students using the OLI Statistics course perform as well as students in traditional classrooms with no online component. However, we do not know how the statistics course or any other courses fare in a community college setting. Nor do we know whether student outcomes are better when students and faculty are using OLI courses as intended. For example, we would expect OLI course materials to provide fewer advantages in classrooms where students rarely use those materials and/or when the faculty themselves are not familiar with the OLI system as opposed to classrooms where faculty and students use OLI course materials regularly.
In our evaluation study, we aim to capture lots of information about the use of OLI courses (not just statistics) by asking faculty and students about their experiences with the course materials and using learning analytics within the courses to verify that use. We expect that this data will provide us with much more information about how the use of OLI course materials is associated with student outcomes. The data will also offer insights that can help OLI support more effective use of their materials among faculty and students.
OLI materials have the potential to enhance what the faculty can offer to students through thoughtfully-designed online activities, virtual labs and simulations that provide students with constant feedback about what they know and need to know. The OLI “learning dashboard” also provides access to student participation and performance data so that faculty can quickly assess the topics and problems with which students are having the most trouble. To learn more about what makes OLI courses unique, see Our Process.