On 9/24/18 at 5:45pm, I attended the Excellence In Higher Education Virtual Conference Session: Motivation In Online Environments presented by Dr. John Fisher of Utah Valley University
Most students come with associates degrees, and they offer a program in law enforcement and emergency leadership. Most of these courses will be online. They have recently started work in emergency management and leadership. Roughly 10% sign up for these upper-tier courses but never start. To get to the meat of the issue, he polled and openly asked questions to find what motivated the students to start and succeed.
What motivates the student or us? SDT sets us in motion and motivation to succeed.
So how can we support the SDT students?
by connecting with students we can establish the interpersonal relationships that emphasize choice and flexibility. Dr. Fisher talked about the “emotional bank account” that is built through these close personal connections. Often, it takes a whole lot more deposites than withdrawals. In most cases, more must be put in before others are willing to take from it.
THis chart, built by Chen & Jang shows a different set of motivations and learning outcomes.
Need is a strong effect, and needs satisfaction was positive – or less negative really- for final grades.
When we support autonomy, we see a greater understanding and success on the part of the student. As students needs were satisfied, they felt more positive.
WHile we feel that we can often give cop-out answers like: “Here’s the number to technical support, they’re much better…” but that’s not a very supportive answer.
Students who would take online courses again said they would do so because of the flexibility. Those who would not said it was because they did not get the interaction with the professor that they desired.
MOre men are taking online courses. This is an odd set of numbers. Is it because more men are coming back? it may be because job services, it is unknown
As you can see in these numbers, flexibility remains high.
These were the questions given to students to help determine how to help. The 5th question was overwhelmingly yes! The majority of online students seem to be non-traditional students with jobs and families, etc. It is odd that online students would like to have the strong contact of a seated class, but do not/would not find time to take those courses.
While 80 students took the class, only 65 seemed ready to answer the questions
Using Grounded Theory, he created some propositions and comparisons throughout the process with 4 areas specifically looked at:
ONe thing that came up was that students needed to engage early to be successful.
Students demanded that instructions were clear, that after 16wks they faced burnout. How long can you put up with the same stuff every week. They wanted to see paced courses so there was good pacing and variety
These methods are some suggestions made in terms of assignments, discussions and group work. Not all students like group work. On the other hand, others feel accountable and working. Which is surprising. Many students prefer questions and exams to papers, so some answers are quite revealing
Again, there are several major items which are commonly said, like shorter course durations, flexible schedules, the autonomy of the schedules, constant and immediate feedback, etc. Online courses must still be rigorous, worthy of credits, and collegiate-level work. Students like structured content with variety and interesting materials.
One of the challenges of online courses is motivation. Some students sign up for courses and don’t start. This presentation reports on a study about student motivation in online education. During a course end evaluation, students were asked the following questions. Why do students not get started in online courses? What can be done to get them started and keep working on assignments? What motivates you to keep working? How could online courses be improved so you are better motivated? Responses were gathered from over 100 students in five sections of an upper division online course in emergency services. Responses to the questions were analyzed and propositions developed.