This January the ETS team successfully completed a pilot of an online course on symbolic logic and turned it over to Liberal Arts for future maintenance. Now it’s time to assess what happened and see if we (or I) learned anything.
We did a survey of the students and it did pull up a few interesting results worth sharing.
- Over half (55.6%) of the students had taken two or more online courses. One had taken up to four. Online learning is becoming a common part of the Penn State experience.
- A question dear to my heart was how often video captions were used. Two thirds (66.7%) of the students reported using the videp captions. They were on by default, but it’s interesting to note that students were happy to leave them on (and remembered seeing them). Only 7.4% said they weren’t aware of captions.
- The most popular addition to the course? The inclusion of special symbols and templates in the Word homework assignment files. Although the online lecture, videos and quizzes were also appreciated, a simple logistical step can still really help.
We got plenty of other data on communication, course satisfaction and so forth, but it was in line from what I’ve seen in other online courses.
The course went well, but could use improvements. Like many technical courses there is a balance between presenting enough content to accurately convey the tools of the field but not overloading the students. Many students reported feeling frustrated, but post tests would reveal whether they were just annoyed or really confused.
Fortunately, the students generally reported being satisfied with their interactions with the instructor. That’s always a good place to start.