Preparing our paper about the online-on-campus research for the AAA

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We are now in the analysis phase of our research that explores the similarities and differences between an on-campus and online graduate level seminar. The course was taught at UNT and both on-campus and online were taught at the same time, by the same professor, with the same readings, etc. Our data now consists of interviews with all of the students in the course, three weeks of discussion board threads for online, three one hour teleconferences that were part of the online course, and three weeks worth of video recordings of the on-campus class meeting. We chose to focus on the same three weeks in both courses.

From what I can tell so far, there have not been many (well, I have not found any) studies that have focus on both on-campus and online courses taught at the same time by the same professor. I have found a lot of articles in my extensive literature review that compare asynchronous and synchronous elements of an online course.

While the study was met to be more of a pilot (due to only being able to focus on three weeks) it’s turning out to be much more fruitful than a pilot! I would have never imagined we would end up with so much data!

We’ll be presenting Saturday, December 1, at 8:00 am at the AAA conference. Thus, we are working on the paper and presentation now. Much like it has been for the last two months of analysis- we’re finding that it’s difficult deciding what to focus on! There is so much to say, frameworks to use, etc. It’s been a good experience to have to help decide what to focus on, and there has been a fair amount of back and forth about it.

The analysis is somewhat interdisciplinary project in that we are drawing on distance education, education, computer-mediated communication, language ideologies, and of course, linguistic anthropology. This has also been a good experience.

The last important lesson I’ve learned is how quickly data can become overwhelming, both in quality and quantity!

The project is applied in nature and thus we’ve started making design recommendations from the data to inform both course development and the electronic learning software. I think our recommendations are great and when we presented preliminary findings to the department last month, we got some valuable feedback about the recommendations.

For AAA we’ll likely narrow our focus to ‘presence’ (as defined by Garrison and others) online and on-campus. I’ll post more about the actual findings after the conference, but I can tell you that we are finding that both on-campus and online have their strengths and weaknesses :)
We’ve been doing analysis

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