Title

Active Learning in an Online Introductory Networking Course Using Collaborative Learning Communities

Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2018

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction

Department

Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Dr. Ximena Saurez-Sousa

Keywords

Online learning, learning communities, active learning, student engagement, student persistence

Abstract

Student engagement is key to successful teaching and learning, however, engaging students presents a particular challenge in online learning environments. Unlike face-to-face courses, online courses present a unique challenge of engaging the learners so they feel as if they are part of a community of students rather than a disconnected learner. This sense of isolation and decreased engagement often results in poor student persistence. This paper explores incorporating online collaborative learning communities into the design of an online introductory networking course in order to increase student engagement with the intended result of ultimately increasing academic success and persistence. The subjects were first year students in a Midwestern community college. The participant population was diverse, made up of Caucasian, African American, Asian, and Hispanic students. Of this group, 39% were non-Caucasian. The post-intervention data from this research tends to indicate positive results, specifically a 12% increase in both exam scores and assignment completion rate, and 100% student persistence. However, due to the small sample size it is difficult to ascertain with any confidence that this strategy was the impetus for them. This area needs further research, specifically working with a larger sample size, to determine without reservation that the intervention was successful.

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