Drop-thought: a pilot project to assess student learning via live student voice in a distance learning environment"
Introduction: As online courses and online student enrollments continue to grow, it becomes imperative to develop and sustain ‘quality online courses’. ‘Drop-Thought’ was a project titled to attempt to hear students’ voice as a semantic analysis of students’ course feedback aligned to Quality Matters (QM) General Standards (Quality Matters, 2016). The broader framework involved a national inter- institutional student impact study with generation of actionable data having no costs to institutions. The purpose of this pilot descriptive case study was to gather anonymous live student feedback related to certain course elements in a Quality Matters designed course and compare and contrast findings with a Non-Quality Matters designed course. Methods: After the approval of the Institutional Review Board, undergraduate students were recruited to participate in this study involving two distance learning courses (Community Health Agency & Health Education Evaluation). Quantitative and qualitative data was gathered on various course assignments and projects via student ratings and student comments. Results: It was seen that majority of the categories had dichotomous student ratings (excellent & good) except the area of chapter assignments (which had many (n= 25) ‘fair’ student ratings). The data didn’t seem to suggest any major differences in terms of a Quality Matters designed course vs a non-Quality Matters designed course though this was not a classic randomized experiment. Discussion and Conclusion: Published findings related to student feedback in online distance courses are limited and this study is the first one to date which reports anonymous live data student feedback in an online course setting. Future studies should involve a randomized design and compare and contrast student live course feedbacks in a Quality Matters designed course vs a non-Quality Matters designed course to give credence to the fact that an evidence-based Quality Matters rubric does improve the quality of the course particularly in terms of student ratings.
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