are Engineering @ GMU Thoughts on Distance Education for the MS-SWE Program An open-minded perspective With exit survey results from SWE 642, Fall 2010 Jeff Offutt of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Advocacy and Promotion Much discussion on DE is one-sided, driven by advocacy Instructors should not be coerced or forced Scientists objectively consider all sides If we decide a method is sound, our energy is infinite Last year Sharon Caraballo asked me a simple question: What would it take for the Software Engineering program to make a full commitment to distance ed?
??? Quantity Quality ??? 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 2 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Objective Thoughtful Deliberation This talk is a result of objectively consideration of all sides of Distance Education After gathering information and accumulating experience using DE in SWE 642 (F 2010), SWE 632 (S 2011), and several invited talks Here are my thoughts and conclusions So far I have not finished 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011
3 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Parameters and Assumptions DE can be applied synchronously or asynchronously DE can transmit the computer screen, audio, and video DE can include in-class students or only internet students Most of the CS Departments DE classes use: Synchronous delivery through the Internet Computer and audio, not video In-class students 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 4 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Quality versus Quantity
1) I am unwilling to sacrifice quality to deliver my classes through distance education Despite assertions to the contrary, this is a challenge 2) DE must help us, where us is our students, the program, me, IT&E, and GMU IN THAT ORDER If the only benefit is quantity, I am not interested 3) Students First 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 5 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Outline 1. 1. Goals Goals of of DE DE 2. 2. Changes
Changes in in Teaching Teaching 3. 3. Delivery Delivery Technology Technology 4. 4. Motivating Motivating Instructors Instructors 5. 5. Exit Exit Survey Survey in in SWE SWE 642 642 6. 6. Summary Summary 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011
6 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Quantity Goals for Using DE Save our existing students the inconvenience of driving to campus Attract new students from the area who are unable or unwilling to make the commitment to coming to campus This includes blocks of students from companies Attract new students from out of the area Why should be the FIRST question! But these goals are all about quantity 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 7 of 43 are Engineering
@ GMU Quality Goals for Using DE Previous goals emphasize convenience (quantity) Can the technologies required for quality DE make non-DE courses better ? Can DE delivery improve the quality of our classes ? Or at least, not reduce the quality ? Can DE help us compete with our peer institutions ? Can recordings help students prepare for finals ? 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 8 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU
Essential Aspects of Quality Valuable and challenging material Clear explanations Frequent feedback Clear goals and learning outcomes Fair and unbiased assessments Rigorous assessments with high standards Can we use DE without losing these aspects of quality? 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 9 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Outline 1. 1. Goals
Goals of of DE DE 2. 2. Changes Changes in in Teaching Teaching 3. 3. Delivery Delivery Technology Technology 4. 4. Motivating Motivating Instructors Instructors 5. 5. Exit Exit Survey Survey in in SWE SWE 642 642 6. 6. Summary
Summary 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 10 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Presentation Style To use DE to teach effectively, we must change many classroom habits This directly impacts habits that make us to be effective communicators and good teachers Some habits of good teachers : Being dynamic and interactive
Holding students interest Using subtle feedback to dynamically update the presentation Using body language to emphasize points Using slide transition to increase learning These are different, harder or impossible with DE 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 11 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Presentation Habits to Change We cannot physically point to the projector screen Using a mouse is a less effective alternative We cannot look students in the eyes to regain attention Or see when their attention strays We cannot use auxiliary technologies like the whiteboard
Write notes on the computer (eg, with Notepad) The DE students cannot see uswe must constantly remember and allow for this fact 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 12 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Presentation Habits (cont) We cannot see the DE studentswe must constantly remember and allow for this fact We must remember to monitor the computer screen for questions from the DE students Must repeat questions from in-class students Understand what to change, then learn new habits 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 13 of 43
are Engineering @ GMU Course Structure Restrictions Weekly in-class quizzes are not possible with DE Unless we do not use them for grading Handwritten homeworks cant be submitted on paper We have to pay to print our DE students homeworks Feedback on homeworks is harder Writing on paper is natural, typing into Blackboard is awkward It is harder for DE students to query about grading Students learn more with frequent, detailed feedback and evaluations 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 14 of 43 are Engineering
@ GMU Student Issues Experts agree that DE works best for highly motivated, independent learners, with strong backgrounds This may be why some instructors observe that the DE students score higherthey self-select Many existing students tell me that even when they register for a DE section, they come to campus when they can 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 15 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Other Uses of Technology Online submission : Widely used
If you need printouts, I dont think its worth it Discussion threads : I have had VERY lively discussions on various topics Online questions : Students can post technical questions on BB TA or Prof can answer Other students often answer ! Often start interesting discussions Very effective in SWE 642 and 205, less so in SWE 632 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 16 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Outline 1. 1. Goals Goals of of DE DE 2.
2. Changes Changes in in Teaching Teaching 3. 3. Delivery Delivery Technology Technology 4. 4. Motivating Motivating Instructors Instructors 5. 5. Exit Exit Survey Survey in in SWE SWE 642 642 6. 6. Summary Summary 2/12/20
Jeff Offutt, 2011 17 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Delivery Technology Most technologies support Audio delivery Sharing of the entire screen, or individual applications Limited feedback from the students Video (GMU has few facilities for video) Some features do not allow powerpoint transition A very effective presentation technique ! They have accidental differences, but they do not affect the essential concern Question of quality education is mostly independent of technology 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011
18 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Technology Summary I preferred Adobe Connect Elluminate has advantages For advanced users (Usability : More to learn) For instructors who already use BB heavily Some students had trouble connecting to Elluminate Elluminate recordings are only available to class members By defaultinstructor can get an external link And can be deleted at the end of the semester Its easy to forget some of the little steps I have a detailed checklist GMU has chosen Elluminate as a standard 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 19 of 43
are Engineering @ GMU My Elluminate Checklist BEFORE CLASS 0. CHARGE THE MIKE!!!! 1. Create a new session a. Blackboard, click Teach b. Click Elluminate icon c. To create a new session *CLICK HERE* IN CLASS 1. Login to BlackBoard (courses.gmu.edu) 2. Teach tab 3. Click on Elluminate session name 4. Setup microphone a. Tools - Audio - Select Input Device Revolabs xTag b. Click microphone icon bottom left 5. Open applications: PPT, browser 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 20 of 43
are Engineering @ GMU Part of My Elluminate Checklist 6. Share applications a. Click left icon of screen with green arrow b. Choose Firefox, PPT, notepad, ... 7. Start recording Tools - Recorder Record WHEN FINISHED 8. Stop recording Tools - Recorder - Record 9. Stop sharing desktop Click left icon of screen with green arrow (same icon) 10. Session - leave session VIEWING RECORDINGS Blackboard - Course Content - Elluminate - Recordings Use the calendar control top right to choose the right day Click on the Recording Name 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 21 of 43
are Engineering @ GMU Outline 1. 1. Goals Goals of of DE DE 2. 2. Changes Changes in in Teaching Teaching 3. 3. Delivery Delivery Technology Technology 4. 4. Motivating Motivating Instructors Instructors 5. 5. Exit Exit Survey
Survey in in SWE SWE 642 642 6. 6. Summary Summary 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 22 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Motivating Instructors It takes more effort to teach online Mostly the first few times, learning new habits I had 75 students last semester why would I want more? A teaching reduction is a net loss with an instructor shortage SWE needs instructors in the classroom
Other ideas : Summer support A GRA (not taken out of the GTA pool!) A bonus I paid a $75 additional fee for my daughter to take a DE course at VA Tech The instructor said he got a direct cash bonus 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 23 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Motivating Instructors (cont) In a recent meeting, discussion was cut off as soon as critical questions came up If GMU wants more DE, wouldnt it be better to convince and motivate us? Offer us help? Strategy so far has been to pressure us, stifling teamwork
A suggestion: A full-time staff member who is an expert in DE This person can visit our classes and advise us on how to use DE effectively 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 24 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Intellectual Property University policy number 4002 http://www.gmu.edu/facstaff/policy/newpolicy/4002res.html Based on my reading of this policy, we have no rights to our recorded lectures GMU can use our lectures to teach the class again, without our consent and without any compensation If I want to teach my class in the summer, GMU could say no, then teach the class using my recorded lectures and a TA to grade homeworks
Why would I consent to have my lectures recorded and archived ? 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 25 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Outline 1. 1. Goals Goals of of DE DE 2. 2. Changes Changes in in Teaching Teaching 3. 3. Delivery Delivery Technology
Technology 4. 4. Motivating Motivating Instructors Instructors 5. 5. Exit Exit Survey Survey in in SWE SWE 642 642 6. 6. Summary Summary 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 26 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU
(8) Exit Survey, Fall 2010 Offered DE to SWE 642 students, Fall 2010 Announced on first day, used Adobe Acrobat 37 students 18 students attended online at least once Survey at the end of the semester Anonymous Google survey 20 responses 2/12/20 Num Lectures Joined Online Num Students 0 8 1
3 2 4 3 3 4 1 8 1 Jeff Offutt, 2011 27 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU
Why Did You Attend Online ? Conflict kept me from coming to campus (12) Tired after work Couldnt leave work on time Sick Daughters sick Missed the bus A meeting at work ended at 4:00 every week Attended online 8 times No other reason given 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 28 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Why Not Attend Online More? Could not hear questions from in-class students (5) Instructors need to repeat questions
Easier to concentrate in classroom (4) Enjoy interaction in class (4) Too many technical difficulties in other classes (3) Instructors must become skilled with technologies Sitting at home doesnt feel like college (2) 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 29 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Why Not Attend Online More? (cont) Worried about missing things on board (1) Type notes on the computer, not the board I wanted to get my homework back (1) Grades on blackboard are assessments, not feedback Felt like I learned more in class (1)
2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 30 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Numeric Answer Questions Was the quality of learning online as good as being in class? (1=Much worse, 3=The same, 5=Much better) 2.93 1, 1, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4 How was the quality of the audio ? (1=Poor, 5=Excellent) 4.15 How was the quality of the visual component ? (1=Poor, 5=Excellent) 4.08
How was the quality of the interaction with online students? (1=Poor, 5=Excellent) 2/12/20 3.62 Jeff Offutt, 2011 31 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU What Should be Improved ? Video of professor (9) Many DE experts believe that video does not improve learning Audio pickup of students questions (2) Instructor should repeat. (Always?) Feedback on assignments (1) A very important part of learning See where the professor is pointing (1)
Using the mouse to point is a difficult habit to internalize Use ANYTHING but NEW!! (1) 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 32 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Dropdown Answer Questions Would video increase learning ? No : 2 Yes : 12 How did this DE class compare with other classes that used DE ? Worse : 0 Same : 2 Better : 10 What DE technology did you use in other classes ? Elluminate : 3
New : 7 Moodle : 2 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 33 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU If You Did NOT Attend DE Why Not? Prefer interaction with professor and classmates (5) Try to involve online students Cant concentrate online (4) Already on campus (1) Technical problems in other classes (1) 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011
34 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU How Did the DE Affect In-Class? Software required too much attention (2) It was handled more smoothly than other classes (2) Minimally (unlike in other classes!) (1) I would like to hear online students talk (1) Dont forget to record lectures ! (1) I forgot this twice 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 35 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Recordings
Did you watch any recordings ? No : 6 Yes : 14 Did the recordings help ? Helpful to review hard topics (7) Helped when I missed class (2) Slightly, when I missed part of the lecture A lot in doing homeworks Yack, deadly dull! Not muchneeds editing, and its hard to search for a topic 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 36 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Other Comments? Much better than other DE classes (SWE 621, SWE 625, CS 555) NEW is awful and should be prohibited ! Most professors ignore online students, never ask questions,
never repeat questions, Classes with boring professors are fine online, but we lose a lot watching this class online Students know online classes are crap, but its better than driving I hated online last semester, but now Ive seen Elluminate and a professor who changes his teaching style. Im glad GMU finally got some training for professors! 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 37 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU
Other Comments? Higher fees for online is a terrible idea ! Include video I like being able to review the recordings In my other class we lost 10 to 15 minutes almost every day because of technology problems Can I access it out of the states ? Need better hardware It was handled well in swe 642, unlike other classes I love you because you didnt use NEW !!! 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 38 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Outline 1. 1. Goals Goals of of DE
DE 2. 2. Changes Changes in in Teaching Teaching 3. 3. Delivery Delivery Technology Technology 4. 4. Motivating Motivating Instructors Instructors 5. 5. Exit Exit Survey Survey in in SWE SWE 642 642 6. 6. Summary Summary
2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 39 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Summary and Recommendations Yes, it is possible to teach DE courses well Help students who have trouble making 4:30 classes Not hurt students who come to the classroom Some benefits : Recordings are available for reviews Increased availability and convenience Marketing No evidence that DE sections increase enrollment Instructors need modest help getting started:
2/12/20 Knowing what to change Help on how to change Learning technology Turning skills into habits Jeff Offutt, 2011 40 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Teachers Must Adapt and Learn Go to the classroom 10 minutes earlier Write comments in Notepad, not on the whiteboard Or a technology that lets us draw pictures
Use the mouse to point on-screen Keep DE students involved Give feedback to DE students electronically Watch for DE students questions Learn technology well enough so our fumbling does not affect students in the classroom 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 41 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Universities Must Invest in DE technology Elluminate done ! Invest in modest training At our convenience Preferably attending classes to offer tips and suggestions Motivate us to put out the extra effort
Re-negotiate ownership of recordings Video teachers ? Many experts say video does not improve learning Students definitely want it ! 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 42 of 43 are Engineering @ GMU Can We have Quality and Quantity? Yes But we have to work at it Learn new skills Turn skills into habits 2/12/20 Jeff Offutt, 2011 43 of 43
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