Distance Learning - University of Texas, Austin

Distance Learning – A Case for
Introductory Statistics at Central
Michigan University
Carl Lee
Department of Mathematics
Central Michigan University
E-mail: carl.lee@cmich.edu
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto
Google Search on “Distance Learning”,
“Distance Education”, or e-Learning:
13,520,000 sites
Distance Education at CMU
Online Introductory Statistics
Nine Measures of Quality in e-Learning
Evaluating the CMU Model using the Nine
Unique Features of Online Statistics Courses
Suggestions for First Time Online Teachers
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto
Distance Education at CMU
Milestone and Development
• 1971: The School of Continuing Education and Community
Services was developed to administer all off-campus related
 Specific programs (non-degree) were developed for various military base
and federal agencies and for American Heart Association, and so on.
 Centers were developed throughout out the nation.
• 1982: Expanded and name changed to School of Extended Learning
 Continue to build learning centers and expanded to Canada and Mexico.
Main program: Master in Science & Administration (MSA)
 Main delivery method: Learning packages and Classroom lectures at
learning centers.
 # of students reached 5000 enrolled by year 1989.
• 1989- Reorganized to College of Extended Learning
 Continue to expand the programs including both Masters and
undergraduate programs. New course and curriculum had to be approved
by the Academic Senate.
 Delivery methods to include web courses and Distance Learning Classroom
through TV.
 # of students enrolled reached 10000 by year 2000.
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto
Distance Education at CMU
Transformed the college into Professional
Education Services. (ProfEds)
Distance Education group is no longer a stand-alone
college. In stead, it is now a service unit that works
with each college to provide distance education that
synchronizes on-campus and off-campus curricula.
Programs available:
Two DA’s in Audiology and Health Administration
10 Master programs, 12 Graduate certificate programs, 6
undergraduate programs.
Main delivery methods are web and learning packages.
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto
Web Courses
Web courses are treated the same as on-campus courses,
so there are no special limitations toward student’s program
or transferring the courses.
Delivery System: Blackboard
Interaction and Communication: Through e-mails,
discussion forum, charting room, and telephone.
Assessment: Proctored online exams or Proctored
exams at a designated location.
Advantages: Students can study at their own pace, their
own schedule and at any location where internet is
Disadvantages: No face-to-face interaction, difficult to
manage consistent progress among the entire class.
Difficult to conduct group activities.
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto
Learning Packages
Learning packages are print-based
courses. They are still quite popular.
• Advantages: No technology required (Critical for
students who do not have Internet connection).
Students can study at their own pace, their own
schedule and at any location.
• Disadvantages: Very little interaction with
instructors. Communication can be done only
through telephone or e-mail for those who have email access.
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto
Classroom Courses at Learning Centers
Classroom courses are available in over 60 offcampus locations across the U.S., Canada and
Mexico. Classroom-based courses are offered yearround in a compressed format with shorter terms
(Most are 3 to 6 weekends).
• Advantages: It is a face-to-face classroom lecture format.
Students do not need to go to the main campus and still
receive similar on-campus education.
• Disadvantages: Courses that students desire may not be
able to offer at a specific center. The contacting hours are
the same as a regular semester, however, they are
compressed into 3 to 6 weekends. It is not easy to digest
the material, especially for quantitative subjects, in such a
short time period.
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto
Faculty Support
Faculty Resource Center:
• Workshops on using technology
• Faculty Expectation and assessment
• Community Network
• Best Practices of Distance Education
• Curriculum Development and Teaching
• References on Distance Education
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto
Student Services
Before Taking any Course: Lesson Zero Course –
for students to get acquainted with the online
learning and strategies on how to succeed when
taking an online course, such as time management,
tools for online communication, navigating the net,
and so on.
After Registration: material purchasing, online
library, online advising, scheduling exams, online
resources, and so on.
After completion: Final grades, incompletes, online
student evaluation.
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto
Introductory Statistics
It is required for Doctor of Arts programs
and most of the Master’s programs offered
through the Distance Education.
 The course is offered in all three different
delivery methods (web, learning package
and learning center)
 The one I have been teaching is the web
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto
(From Cause.org by Landers
August 10, at
JSM, Toronto
Web Introductory Statistics
The web course was first delivered in 1999.
 Course Development:
• Use both online material and a textbook
• Use learning objective matrix to guide study.
• Use online self-assessment for students to
assess their progress.
• Use proctored exams for assessing their learning
Delivery system:
• was first developed in hmtl.
• Currently, it is delivered through Blackboard
course management system.
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto
Course Information for Students
General Support from the Distance Edu Group
Course Technical Support
• Contact the DDL Helpdesk
• Virtual Classroom/Lightweight Chat Troubleshooting
Ordering Texts and Print Materials
Examination Proctor Information
Off Campus Library Services Information
General University Grading Policies
End of Course Survey
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto
Course Content and Organization
Organized in units – a total of 8 units. Covers typical
topics for an intro stat course.
Study materials: Include online reading and a textbook.
Progress assessment: Homework in textbook and self-
assessment online.
Exams: An exam is required for every two units. A total of
four exams.
Learning Objective Matrix: The concepts, topics and
self-assessment are connected by the Learning Objective
Interaction and Communication: e-mail and
discussion forum.
Chatting room and virtual classroom are available. I have
not been able to successfully get students together online.
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto
Within Each Unit on Blackboard
Textbook: Read Chapter 4.1-4.5
Unit 4 Introduction
unit4intro_rev.rtf ( 8424 Bytes )
Unit 4 Online Readings
unit4onlinereadings_rev.rtf ( 886217 Bytes )
Unit 4 Objectives
unit4objec_rev.rtf ( 6110 Bytes )
Unit 4 Study Guide
unit4studyguide_rev.rtf ( 29304 Bytes )
Unit 4 Practice Quiz
Click here for Online Practice Quiz
Exam #2
Please call your proctor to schedule your second exam.
The test will cover the following:
• Online Units : 3 and 4
• Textbook Chapters: 3 and 4.1 to 4.5
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto
Learning Objective Matrix
Study Directory for Unit 2, (covering Chapter 2 of the textbook). You may
use the information on this page to guide you through your studies.
Please begin by reading the Unit 2 Introduction and Unit 2 Objectives.
Objectives Related Concepts
Readings Examples
Test Items
Bar Graph,
Pie Chart
p. 20-24 2.1
2.3, 2.7, 2.13
Dot Plot, Stem-leaf Plot
p. 29-36 2.2
2.16,2.17, 2.19, 2.20, 1-8,
2.23,2.26, 2.29
p. 42-43
2.33, 2.35
16, 25, 27
Mean, Median, Mode,
Symmetric, Skewed
p. 44-50 2.3, 2.4, 2.5,
2.6, 2.7
2.37, 2.39, 2.41,
2.43, 2.47, 2.49
1, 8, 11-14,
18, 22-24, 28
Variability, Range, Variance, p. 55-59 2.8, 2.9
Standard Deviation
2.55, 2.57, 2.59, 2.61 3, 15, 16, 20,
21, 25-27, 28
Empirical Rule, Standard
p. 61-66 2.10, 2.11,
2.69, 2.71, 2.75b,
Relative Standing, Percentile
p. 70-71
2.83, 2.87
6, 17, 19
Z-score, Standardization
p. 71-73 2.13, 2.14
2.82, 2.91, 2.93a,b
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto
Benchmarks for Success in Internetbased Distance Education
Benchmarks for Success in Internet-based Distance Education (March,
2000) A publication by the Institute for Higher Education Policy.
Jia Frydenberg (2002). Quality Standards in e-Learning: A Matrix of
Analysis. International Review of Research in Open and Distance
1. Executive commitment
2. Technological infrastructure
3. Student services
4. Design and development
5. Instruction and instructor services
6. Program delivery
7. Financial health
8. Legal and regulatory requirements
9. Program evaluation
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto
1. Executive commitment
Distance education program can not be done by an individual faculty or a
department. It must have a long term commitment from the higher
administration with clear strategic plan and identified market segments.
2. Centralized Technological infrastructure that is
capable of providing
technical solutions required to track student-learning performance.
friendly online environment for interactions and communication
between students and instructors and among students to build a
sense of community.
user-friendly tools to enable instructional developers to create
excellent learning materials and intellectual meeting spaces easily and
3. Student services
Being able to provide and maintain a high quality programs is the key
for a long term success of the distance education.
Provides additional advising on the use of technology and strategies
of how to be successful as a e-learner such as time management, use
of technology, online communication skills, etc.
Provides on time online tutoring services.
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto
4. Instructional Design and development
• Clear guideline on the standards and expectation.
• Clear guideline of learning objectives, learning outcomes. Materials
should then be developed to lead student learning to achieve the
expected outcomes.
• Materials require students to engage themselves in higher order
thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
• Review the material periodically to ensure they meet the program
• Clearly laid-out assessment plan for assessing student learning
5. Instruction and instructor services (Faculty Support)
• Technical assistance in course development should be available.
• Instructors’ training and supporting network on the use of technology
and through the progression of online course.
• Guidelines on dealing issues arising from students using online
technology and related.
6. Program delivery
• Provides different delivery systems for different students.
• Provides supplementary material including library services in addition
to online materials.
• Clearly define and re-enforce the time frame for students to follow in
order to complete the course work on time.
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto
7. Financial health
• A healthy financial plan for a distance learning program is
critical. It also ensures the commitment of the higher
administration. The finance can not be totally rely on the tuition
as it starts.
8. Legal and regulatory requirements
• The rapid change of technology has significant impact on the issue of
copyright. A distance Education Unit needs to properly take care of the
legal and regulatory requirements.
9. Student Outcomes Assessment and Program
• Most frequent criticism of distance education is the problem of
assuring adequate student learning outcomes. A multiple
assessment tools should be implemented to assess student
learning outcomes.
• The success of a program should be measured also using
multiple measurements to evaluate if the program achieves the
goals, which include both student learning, student enrollment
and financial health.
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto
The CMU Model
1. Executive
With 25 years of distance education programs – Commitment is very
2. Technological
With 25 years of experience and upgrade of technology. The
infrastructure is outstanding
3. Student services
Having a variety of student services personnel to provide student
services. The commitment is very high. How well is it. I do not know.
4. Design and
Attempts to adopt technology for instructional development. However,
little has been done other than dumping the material to Blackboard. Can
be improved greatly.
5. Instruction and
instructor services
There have been workshops and networking opportunities for
instructors. The participation has been very minimum. Part of reason is
that most of online instructors also teach on campus. The online course
becomes secondary.
6. Program delivery
The delivery methods are adequate for some disciplines, but not
adequate for quantitative courses such as statistics.
7. Financial health
It has been financially healthy. However, the competition is high.
Changes will be needed in order to maintain the leading position.
8. Legal and
Any material developed for the CMU’s distance education program,
CMU required the transfer of the copyright.
9. Program evaluation
Student learning outcomes assessment has been course and
instructor’s own design. There is not a common standard across the
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto
same course.
Some Unique Problems Faced in the Online
Intro Stat Course
The Blackboard course management system still very weak in
dealing with symbols, which is critical for statistics.
Blackboard system can not handle html inside the system. As
a result, any links developed in html will be lost when html
document is imported into the Blackboard system. This is a
serious drawback for introducing statistical concepts which
cut across different chapters. An ideal situation would be to
allow all related materials for the same or similar concepts to
be linked, so that one can learn the concept in descriptive
summary, in distribution and in inference and applications.
For example, when discussing confidence interval, the related
concepts such as mean, standard deviation, standard error,
normal distribution and applications of confidence intervals
should be linked whenever students need them.
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto
Online assessment is difficult to develop due to the same reason that
Blackboard can not handle symbols nor tables properly.
Online survey is also very weak for the Blackboard system. It does not
allow users to keep the raw survey data. As a result, one can not
conduct a pre/post comparison of the survey data.
Group projects are almost impossible due to the fact that students are
in remote locations, it is physically difficult to conduct group projects.
Time management is especially difficult for most students. This is due
part to the nature that people tend to push it to the last minute, but also
due to the anxiety of statistics. The longer a students put it away, the
more anxiety the student will feel. The consequence is a large percent
of students request for incomplete.
Incomplete policy is easier for the online courses due to the
consideration that online students are mostly working full time, having
kids, may have to deal with disruptions more often than on-campus
students, and other social/economic factors.
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto
Some Unexpected Difficulties
Online charting has never been successful.
Students are located in different time zones and
work in different schedules.
Discussion forum are not used as frequently as I
expected. Most students still like to contact with
the instructor by e-mail or by phone. There is very
little interaction among students.
Requests for incompletes often do not follow the
guideline, which it is to successfully complete 50%
or more. Some students did not even try, but still
ask for incomplete!
Some students take the advantage of incomplete
policy by purposely completing 50% of the work
and ask for incomplete.
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto
Some Suggestions for First Time
Online Instructors
Participate in the training workshops your institution
provides related to how to conduct an online teaching and
the use of technology.
Give students access of the web site a few days ahead
with welcoming message along with the messages that
you want students to know before the term starts:
• The grading policy, syllabus, the list of persons and emails to whom students may need to contact during the
term, navigating the web site to get familiar with the
system, and so on.
A short and warm introduction of yourself and invite them
to introduce themselves using discussion forum, if
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto
Always remind students the information they
need to know during the term, especially, the
schedule, topics, related homework and selfassessment material for each exam.
Keep track of the progress of each student by
sending personal e-mail message to encourage
each one to arrange time for their study.
Respond any e-mail within 24 hours period. If
you can not do that because you are out of town,
inform them ahead.
Feedback to students their performance as soon
as possible with some personal message as an
August 10, 2004 JSM, Toronto