Report: Instructional Design Assistance Helps Increase Student Interaction in Online Courses
When instructional designers are involved in online course design, student interaction increases, according to a new survey of online education leaders from Quality matters and Research Eduventures. The survey compared reported levels of student interaction at institutions where instructional design support is required for online course development versus those where such support is absent or optional. It is perhaps unsurprising that respondents perceive interactivity to be significantly higher for the former.
Instructional design support increases student interaction. Source: Chloe 2: The Changing Landscape of Online Education
The second annual CHLOE 2 (Changing Online Education Landscape) report surveyed 182 Chief Online Officers (COOs) of US colleges and universities about online education policies, practices, and plans. The researchers defined “online director” as any position that manages online education for an institution – with responsibilities spanning course and program development, training, technology selection, support and oversight, budgeting, quality assurance, planning and policy.
The survey found that another benefit of instructional design support was greater consistency in online teaching technology and pedagogy. Generally, institutions where instructional design support is required reported less technical variation and less instructional diversity than institutions where faculty are allowed to design online courses themselves.
Despite these benefits, only 31% of respondents at all levels said their institutions needed instructional design or team input for online course development. However, this figure varied considerably depending on the type of institution. “The data indicates that faculty members are most often required to work with instructional designers and teams in course development in the largest online enrollment programs and in…for-profit programs,” notes The report. “Private institutions are almost as likely to require faculty to work with instructional and technical experts. At the other end of the spectrum, support for instructional design is either absent or optional at the majority of community colleges and four-year public programs, as well as institutions with medium-sized online enrollments.”
Why not ask for instructional design support? The most commonly cited reasons were “to preserve faculty autonomy/academic freedom” and “insufficient resources”.
Ultimately, according to the report, “institutions must decide whether the benefits to students of consistency and adherence to design standards that unleash the full potential of their learning management system (LMS) and other online tools outweigh considerations of faculty autonomy and warrant greater investment in design competence.”
The full report, which explores trends in online education management and the tools and techniques employed in online programs, is available at Site Quality Matters (registration required).