Effect of Instructor Behaviors on Course Completion in Undergraduate Online Courses (DLA 2011)

Presenter: Anna Obedkova, Julili Fowler University of West Georgia
Abstract: This presentation will discuss a study which explored the instructor’s role in student course completion, specifically as related to discussion board behaviors. Among the variables considered include timeliness of response, number of postings, instructor warmth, and teaching effectiveness. We will discuss the most significant factors, the differences between disciplines, and implications for DL administrators.

Learning Objectives

  • Explore the potential relevance of the findings to UoB DL programmes

Key Ideas

  • Research was undertaken in a range of core Undergraduate  modules across Science, Humanities, Maths and Social Sciences
  • Four independent variables were evaluated (timeliness of response, overall effectiveness, posts per week and discussion quality
  • One dependent variable was evaluated (retention)
  • Michael Herbert (1994) found three important variables relating to online instruction:  personal, institutional, and circumstantial
  • Essential for the online instructors, administrators and students to make a personal connection with each other, peers, institution – to feel a sense of belonging and identity
  • Key findings included
  1. Instructor timeliness (including type, value) of response is key indicator of student course completion
  2. Instructors who called students by name and who were warm and inviting  scored higher

Action Plan

  • Explore further findings of study but bear in mind that this was an Undergrad study (whilst ours are all Postgrad Profession) and the large number of variables within a programme of study
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