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Research Update: enough help from online teachers?


Posted on Jan 8, 2014

Do students think they are receiving enough help from their online teachers?

That is the question behind some of the latest research being conducted at the Center.

First, researchers started with this premise: Online teachers play as crucial a role in the online learning process as they do in the traditional classroom, and student preferences in how they are assisted is an important factor in the personalization that online learning can bring to education.

Based on these ideas, researchers were interested in determining if students felt as though they were receiving enough help from their online teachers. Most research in this area has been conducted at the collegiate level with adult learners, leaving much to be explored within K-12 online learning. That is why we contacted a state department of education and sent a pilot questionnaire to students engaged in online learning to become more aware of their experiences. As a member of the research team, I’ve been working on crunching the responses from the pilot.

Gathering student preferences and experiences allows for a more holistic approach in assessing online learning and meeting student needs. One area in which to gather student input is preference in teacher assistance. Some students and their families might be attracted to online learning due to the autonomy it offers and might seek less assistance from online teachers, whereas others are drawn to the aspect of individualized instruction and desire more assistance.
In an upcoming post, I’ll walk through our research design in a bit more detail and share some initial findings.

Danna Harvey is a doctoral student in Counseling Psychology and works as a research assistant at the Center on Online Learning.

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    (1 Comment)

    1. Shirley Swope     January 21, 2014  2:12 pm Reply

      This will be interesting to see, and are you collecting the student’s disability condition? Do you see a trend of school using online learning for an alternative placement for students with behavioral challenges in the brick-and-motar schools?