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Lowenthal and colleagues examine four issues at AERA






EdTech Associate Professor Patrick Lowenthal will co-present in four sessions at the American Educational Research Association annual meeting this week in San Antonio, Texas.

With associate professors Ross Perkins and Chareen Snelson, Lowenthal will present a paper called Teaching a MOOC: Tales from the Front Lines of Massive Open Online Courses.

Most articles written about MOOCs over the past few years have unfortunately come from the popular press and were not based on empirical research. While empirical research on MOOCs is increasing, relatively little has been written about what it is like to teach a MOOC. In this mixed methods exploratory study, they set out to capture the perceptions and experiences of instructors teaching massive open online courses. In this session, they will present the results of their inquiry and implications for practice.

In a roundtable discussion, Lowenthal will focus on Developing Digital Literacies Skills: 21st-Century Special Education Transition Services. Other panel members are Boise State faculty members Michael Humphrey (Special Education) and Quincy Conely (Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning),  and Alison Lowenthal of the Idaho Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.

They will address students’ needs for basic digital literacies to complete a college or job application today. As a result, educators now have a new responsibility to develop all students’ digital literacies. In this session, they will present a digital literacy online training program developed for students with exceptionalities, discuss their design and development approach given the intended audience, report on a series of design experiments, and conclude with implications for theory and practice.

In another roundtable, Lowenthal and EdTech Assistant Professor Jesus Trespalacios will ask and answer the question: What do they really like? A retrospective study of students’ perceptions of their online coursework.

As a result of increased competition in the higher education marketplace, colleges and universities offering online programs must continually evaluate their programs to not only ensure that students are meeting course outcomes but are satisfied with their learning experience. Recognizing the limitations of using end-of-course evaluations for program evaluation and improvement, the purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of recent graduates to find out what they liked and did not like about their online coursework. Follow-up analysis was then used to identify trends in terms of course design and teaching strategies of courses students really liked or struggled with. The results and implications for practice will be discussed in this session.

In his final appearance, Lowenthal will team-up with Snelson and Joanna Dunlap of the University of Colorado-Denver to present a paper entitled Happy Hour: A Design Case on Integrating Live Synchronous Web Meetings into Asynchronous Online Courses.

​Most online courses rely solely on asynchronous text-based online communication. This type of communication has affordances and constraints. Commonly cited constraints include the lack of visual cues and the time it takes for conversations to develop. Synchronous forms of communication can address some of these constraints. However, online educators often avoid using synchronous forms of communication in their courses. In this design case, we explain how we integrated live synchronous web meetings into asynchronous online courses, collected student feedback, and made iterative changes and refinements based on student feedback over time.

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