Exploring Best Practices for Online STEM Courses: Active Learning, Interaction & Assessment Design
Keywords:Assessment, active learning, online interaction, online learning, online courses, online education, online STEM courses, STEM education
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to examine effective design practices for online courses in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields at a large four-year public university in southeastern United States. Our research questions addressed the influence of online design practices on students’ perception of learning and learning satisfaction. An online survey was completed by 537 students from 15 online STEM courses in spring 2016. The survey results indicated that effective online STEM courses integrated active learning activities, interactive engagement strategies, and robust assessments. In particular, assessment design significantly impacted students’ self-perceived learning and learning satisfaction for students of all populations. The findings inform instructors and instructional designers on how to design effective, inclusive, and engaging online STEM curriculum. Online STEM instructors are strongly encouraged to utilize the Universal Design for Learning principles in course design, which benefit all students including students with disabilities.
Aji, C. A., & Khan, M. J. (2015). Virtual to reality: Teaching mathematics and aerospace concepts to undergraduates using unmanned aerial systems and flight simulation software. Journal of College Teaching & Learning, 12(4), 177–188.
Allen, E., & Seaman, J. (2017). Digital Learning Compass: Distance education enrollment report 2017. Babson Survey Research Group, e-Literate, and WCET. Retrieved from https://onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports/digtiallearningcompassenrollment2017.pdf
Bayraktar, S. (2001). A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of computer-assisted instruction in science education. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 34(2), 173–188. http://doi.org/10.1080/15391523.2001.10782344
Black, R. D., Weinberg, L. A., & Brodwin M. G. (2015). Universal design for learning and instruction: Perspectives of students with disabilities in higher education. Exceptionality Education International, 25(2), 1-26.
Chen, B., Howard, W., & Bastedo, K. (2015). STEM online education: How to create a successful online course. Presented at the 21st Annual Online Learning Consortium International Conference 2015, Orlando, FL. Retrieved from http://olc.onlinelearningconsortium.org/conference/2015/aln/stem-online-education-how-create-successful-online-course
Dutra de Oliveira Neto, J. & Nascimento, E. V. (2012). Intelligent Tutoring System for Distance Education. Journal of Information Systems and Technology Management, 9(1), 109-122. http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S1807-17752012000100007&script=sci_arttext&tlng=es
Fellin, W., & Medicus, G. (2015). Multiple Choice Tests: More than a Time Saver for Teachers. International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy. 5(3). Retrieved from: http://online-journals.org/index.php/i-jep/article/view/4376
Fidaldo, P., & Thormann, J. (2017). Reaching students in online courses using alternative formats. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 18(2). Retrieved from: http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/2601/4083
Freeman, S., Eddy, S. L., McDonough, M., Smith, M. K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth, M. P. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. PNAS, 111(23), 8410–8415. http://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1319030111
Gobert, J. D., Baker, R. S., & Wixon, M. B. (2015). Operationalizing and Detecting Disengagement within Online Science Microworlds. Educational Psychologist, 50(1), 43-57. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00461520.2014.999919
Kruger, D., Inman, S., Ding, Z., Kang, Y., Kuna, P., Liu, Y., Lu, X., Oro, S., & Wang, Y. (2015). Improving Teacher Effectiveness: Designing Better Assessment Tools in Learning Management Systems. Future Internet, 7(4), 484-499; doi: 10.3390/fi7040484. http://www.mdpi.com/1999-5903/7/4/484
McConnell, D. A., Steer, D. N., & Owens, K. D. (2003). Assessment and active learning strategies for introductory geology courses. Journal of Geoscience Education, 51(2), 205–216. http://doi.org/10.5408/1089-9995-51.2.205
National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, & Institute of Medicine. (2011). Expanding underrepresented minority participation: America’s science and technology talent at the crossroads. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.
Nicol, D. J. , & Macfarlane‐Dick, D. (2006). Formative assessment and self‐regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education. 31(2), 199–218.
Prince, M. (2004). Does active learning work? A review of the research. Journal of Engineering Education, 93(3), 223–231.
Rao, K., Smith, P. E., & Wailehua, C. U. (2015). Universal design for online courses: Applying principles to pedagogy. Online Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02680513.2014.991300
Rao, K., & Tanners, A. (2011). Curb cuts in cyberspace: Universal instructional design for online courses. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 24, 211–229. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ966125
Schoenfeld-Tacher, R., McConnell, S., & Graham, M. (2001). Do no harm — A comparison of the effects of on-line vs. traditional delivery media on a science course. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 10(3), 257–265. http://doi.org/10.1023/A:1016690600795
Sithole, A., Chiyaka, E. T., McCarthy, P., Mupinga, D. M., Bucklein, B. K., & Kibirige, J. (2017). Student attraction, persistence and retention in STEM programs: Successes and continuing challenges. Higher Education Studies, 7(1), 46. http://doi.org/10.5539/hes.v7n1p46
STEM Education Coalition. (2015). STEM Education Coalition. Retrieved from http://www.stemedcoalition.org/
Vajravelu, K., & Muhs, T. (2016). Integration of digital technology and innovative strategies for learning and teaching large classes: A calculus case study. International Journal of Research In Education and Science (IJRES), 2(2), 379–395. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1105125.pdf
Wells, J. (2015). A century of professional organization influence: Findings from content analyses of MVTTEC annual meetings. Journal of Technology Education, 26 (3), 3-37. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1067730
As a condition of publication, the author agrees to apply the Creative Commons – Attribution International 4.0 (CC-BY) License to OLJ articles. See: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
This licence allows anyone to reproduce OLJ articles at no cost and without further permission as long as they attribute the author and the journal. This permission includes printing, sharing and other forms of distribution.
Author(s) hold copyright in their work, and retain publishing rights without restrictions