Virtual School Meanderings

March 26, 2013

SITE 2013 – Urban Student’s Perception on Online Learning versus Traditional Learning

site-conf-logo-2013The ninth session that I am blogging from the Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education (SITE) International Conference is:

Urban Student’s Perception on Online Learning versus Traditional Learning

Eric Anderson, Roanoke City Public Schools/Regent University, United States, Roanoke City Public Schools/Regent University, United States

Limited research exist examining K-12 student’s perceptions of online learning versus traditional learning. A pilot student was conducted in November 2012 with high school seniors attending Forest Park Academy. Students were asked to complete a survey about online and traditional learning. All of the student participants had experienced an online and traditional course during their high school career. This presentation will provide the results of this study and enable educators to build upon best practices and the lessons learned from implementing a technologically-advanced program for today’s high school students.

The presenter was the Principal of Forest Park Academy in Roanoke, Virginia. A few years ago, the City of Roanoke was graduating about 50% of their students, and the presenter was asked to create a school that would help address this problem.  In the first year, this new school graduated about 100 students that were on a pathway to dropping out.  Today, they have had more than 500 students that have graduated.  The school was described as an online school, however, based on the description I suspect it was actually a blended or hybrid program.

The main challenge – and it seems the focus on session – were focused on technology.  So the presenter asked the students how do they perceive online courses compared to traditional courses.  Seniors were given a ten question, Likert scale survey and received 48 responses.  Some of the responses:

  • students felt that they learned more in a face-to-face class than they learned in an online class
  • students would rather be taught in the class by a teacher than online
  • students disagreed with the statement that they would rather have all of their classes online
  • students did agree that they can learn content online

Some of the open-ended comments included:

  • we should do online classes only in certain courses
  • I would rather learn from a teacher than sit in front of a computer
  • [two others that I didn't get typed in]
  • I like online classes because if you miss a class you can go online and get the work

Some of the best practices that was learned from this experience, included:

  • embrace blended learning – which the presenter waxed on about passionately!!!

During the question and answer, it came out that this program is based upon application and the students tend to be two or three years behind their grade level expectation.

This was another one of these “Best Practices” sessions (i.e., a new format to the conference this year where presenters only had to submit a two paragraph proposal).  If you were in this session, the SIG would be very interested in hearing any feedback about these “Best Practices” sessions and how they compared to other sessions that had to submit a more traditional – and rigorous – proposal, feel free to leave comments on either of these entries.

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