Distance Learning Report Fall 2013

PNC’s Online Approach

Since Fall 2009, PNC has gradually increased its online-only course offerings while focusing on ensuring quality by providing ongoing and extensive training for faculty. There has also been a concerted effort to ensure that newly hired faculty are prepared and ready to teach online and within other technology-assisted teaching models such as the “flipped” classroom and the “hybrid” – or a blend of online and face-to-face – classroom.

Online courses are important to PNC students at all levels, and for a variety of reasons. By our nature, we are a commuter campus, and our students often have complicated and busy lives full of home- and work-related responsibilities in addition to their school responsibilities. Online courses make it possible for students to increase their credit hours and speed up their time toward degree completion by allowing them to take courses that they may not have been able to attend otherwise.

In addition, online learning prepares students for a technological world, as well as independent and self-driven work. Success in the world of work depends a great deal on students’ ability to stay motivated and on task, and many studies have shown evidence that students develop these important skills faster when learning online.

Enrollment over Time

Purdue North Central has been judicious about growing its online offerings, but every year demand and courses have both increased exponentially. Purdue North Central, in fact, has the largest number of online offerings at the undergraduate level amongst all of the Purdue system campuses. In accordance with the Purdue University System Plan, it is wise to work together as a system to grow online offerings and allow students from any campus to take certain courses from wherever they may be, rather than duplicating processes at each campus in inefficient ways.

Percent Fall 2009 Fall 2010 Fall 2011 Fall 2012 Fall 2013

Courses

5.7%

6.71%

9.6%

10.3%

12.3%

Credits

7.3%

8.6%

11.8%

12.9%

14.2%

Students taking DE courses

20.9%

24.7%

29.7%

33.7%

35.8%

Students Taking All Distance Education Courses

Students taking at least one Distance Education course

Types of Courses

Two departments account for more than 50% of the Distance Learning credit hours in Fall 2013; Social Science with 35% and business with 21%. Seniors and juniors are more likely to enroll in online courses versus sophomores and freshmen.

Distance Education Credits by Department

Faculty Training

Thirty-three faculty have completed the Develop an Online Course (DOC) Grant program at PNC, while an additional 31 have completed the BlackBoard Online Teaching Academy, an online course developed by the Office of Learning Technology that is also required of all DOC Grant participants. The DOC Grant Program and Online Academy are research-based programs that provide faculty with both support and incentive to develop and deliver new online courses. They receive extensive training in online pedagogical practices, as well as in leveraging technology tools such as BlackBoard and Camtasia to enhance their teaching.

More information about the DOC Grant and Online Academy can be found at http://www.pnc.edu/distance/onlineacademy/.

Student Success

Grade distributions are very similar for online and face-to-face courses with the exception of withdrawals, which are higher for online courses (8% compared with 12%). The courses with the highest withdrawal rates are lower-level Mathematics, Computer Information Technology, and Education courses.

Dist ED Ind

A % Total

B % Total

C % Total

D % Total

F % Total

I % Total

Withdrawal %

DFW % Total

DIS

33.60%

22.70%

13.84%

5.21%

12.14%

0.24%

12.15%

29.49%

33.77%

26.02%

15.69%

5.25%

10.27%

0.46%

8.40%

23.93%

 

SUBJECT

Dist ED Ind

A % Subj

B % Subj

C % Subj

D % Subj

F % Subj

I % Subj

Withdrawal % Subj

DFW % Subj

ANTH

DIS

10.83%

24.84%

21.66%

13.38%

19.11%

0.00%

10.19%

42.68%

ANTH

22.67%

25.33%

21.33%

14.67%

10.67%

0.00%

5.33%

30.67%

BIOL

DIS

80.00%

0.00%

10.00%

0.00%

10.00%

0.00%

0.00%

10.00%

BIOL

75.00%

25.00%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

CNIT

DIS

31.89%

23.52%

14.00%

4.72%

13.32%

0.15%

12.40%

30.44%

CNIT

34.70%

27.87%

15.54%

5.35%

8.56%

0.05%

7.77%

21.68%

COM

DIS

82.69%

9.62%

0.00%

0.00%

1.92%

0.00%

5.77%

7.69%

COM

20.51%

48.72%

15.38%

2.56%

12.82%

0.00%

0.00%

15.38%

ECET

DIS

100.00%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

ECET

89.78%

7.30%

1.46%

0.00%

0.00%

1.46%

0.00%

0.00%

EDCI

DIS

50.61%

18.90%

9.76%

3.66%

3.05%

0.00%

14.02%

20.73%

EDCI

58.59%

21.09%

10.16%

2.34%

2.34%

0.00%

5.47%

10.16%

ENGL

DIS

37.36%

22.25%

7.22%

1.60%

15.79%

0.42%

15.11%

32.49%

ENGL

34.49%

26.97%

12.06%

3.90%

12.44%

0.63%

9.46%

25.79%

GBG

DIS

38.28%

27.72%

11.22%

8.58%

8.25%

0.00%

5.94%

22.77%

GBG

36.55%

26.89%

14.49%

4.57%

11.75%

0.26%

5.22%

21.54%

GBI

DIS

0.00%

19.77%

38.37%

26.74%

9.30%

0.00%

5.81%

41.86%

GBI

1.15%

24.14%

44.83%

17.24%

6.90%

0.00%

5.75%

29.89%

HIST

DIS

18.74%

18.93%

17.40%

8.60%

19.31%

1.91%

15.11%

43.02%

HIST

17.39%

25.48%

21.36%

8.47%

17.70%

0.31%

9.31%

35.47%

MA

DIS

17.65%

16.34%

8.50%

10.46%

24.84%

0.00%

20.92%

56.21%

MA

11.71%

14.27%

19.57%

10.68%

23.76%

0.17%

19.74%

54.19%

MET

DIS

50.00%

25.00%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

25.00%

25.00%

MET

90.91%

9.09%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

MGMT

DIS

84.62%

7.69%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

3.85%

3.85%

MGMT

94.74%

5.26%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

NUR

DIS

28.05%

23.64%

22.86%

5.97%

9.61%

0.00%

9.87%

25.45%

NUR

31.80%

30.16%

18.03%

3.93%

5.57%

0.33%

9.84%

19.34%

OLS

DIS

42.78%

22.54%

10.79%

3.25%

8.49%

0.16%

11.83%

23.57%

OLS

52.28%

23.48%

9.67%

3.06%

4.98%

0.41%

5.77%

13.81%

PHIL

DIS

32.03%

30.21%

17.32%

4.17%

9.77%

0.00%

6.51%

20.44%

PHIL

41.32%

29.34%

12.29%

3.72%

5.17%

2.48%

4.86%

13.74%

PSY

DIS

36.31%

20.22%

13.37%

4.90%

12.67%

0.00%

12.36%

29.94%

PSY

27.12%

25.46%

22.62%

8.66%

8.47%

0.35%

7.29%

24.42%

SOC

DIS

31.65%

22.10%

10.93%

6.28%

13.46%

0.24%

15.25%

34.99%

SOC

36.60%

26.66%

14.45%

4.06%

9.83%

0.31%

7.94%

21.83%

SPAN

DIS

27.17%

29.35%

14.13%

7.61%

11.96%

1.09%

7.61%

27.17%

SPAN

31.50%

24.41%

19.69%

4.72%

10.24%

0.00%

9.45%

24.41%

STAT

DIS

13.37%

27.48%

35.64%

8.17%

5.20%

0.00%

10.15%

23.51%

STAT

22.59%

31.17%

26.91%

5.60%

5.66%

0.00%

8.00%

19.26%

 

This difference is the case at many institutions, and has been a much-studied phenomenon related to online learning (see Leeds, Campbell, Baker, Ali, Brawley, & Crisp, 2013 – http://www.inderscience.com/info/inarticle.php?artid=50812). While every student is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all strategy, attrition can be reduced by implementing system-wide and consistently available mechanisms that can better support struggling online students, including:

  • Increased time and staffing support for advising and tutoring to provide both academic and non-academic guidance, and to answer student questions when they need help most
  • Increased technology support and availability of system-wide online learning and research resources
  • Consistency in course and information access regardless of location
  • Consistency in message from all units, departments, and campuses regarding technology, advising, enrolment, and other educational support systems

When students are given adequate support and opportunities for tutoring and advising on their schedules, they may be less likely to fail or drop courses that they could otherwise persist and do well in with extra guidance.

Next Steps

Purdue North Central is proposing fully online programs at the undergraduate level, which is not common across the Purdue system. West Lafayette and Purdue Calumet each have master’s programs run through 3rd party vendors, while Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne has one undergraduate and one master’s program. Purdue Calumet also has one bachelor’s completion program in nursing online. There are no undergraduate online programs at West Lafayette.

There is demand for more online courses and programs. However, Purdue must be able to serve student needs fully, which means working more collaboratively as a system to make more efficient use of staffing and technology. There are already efforts to move in this direction, as noted by the development of Governing Principles for System-Wide Collaboration on Online Education.

In order to grow successful programs, we will strive toward assisting the university system in:

  • Establishing 24/7 technology and advising support for all online students
  • Making online tutoring services available, such as a system-wide contract with SmartThinking
  • Creating a seamless process for online course registration, regardless of a student’s home campus
  • Developing an easy-to-use portal that allows online students to access their courses, grades, and other important information that is common across all campuses
  • Ensuring that courses offered online at any Purdue campus will be available to any Purdue system student
  • Increasing collaboration from faculty across the campuses
  • Ensuring equal input on policies and decisions regarding online learning from all Purdue campuses