Describe what you are trying to accomplish with the specific project or teaching practice featured here.
At the time (2010-2012), we were trying to boost enrollment – so we were trying to capture students who wouldn’t be able to participate in our program on a Monday-Thursday schedule. People like stay-at-home moms for whom trying to afford daycare and come to school was too much, or someone who couldn’t give up their daytime job in order to come to a daytime program, or distance learners who could only come to campus one day a week.
The goal for this project was to reduce the hands-on laboratory time by half. We delivered some of the lab prep online to see if students could come to campus and complete the lab in half the time (compared to traditional courses). Instead of having a guided practice lab, where instructors demonstrate and give students time to practice, and students read the materials or looked at the films and came to campus ready to go and do it. That’s exactly what we have our hybrid/online students doing every week. This reduces our visual – or need to be with them on campus – to one, two-hour session a week for each course. For scheduling, we picked Tuesdays because it’s the day of the week least likely to be have a holiday, campus event, or release day – because we couldn’t afford to lose a lab night.
ROLE OF ACADEMIC TECHNOLOGY
What technology/tools are you using in this project or teaching practice? What is the role of the technology in this project or teaching practice?
A lot of them have changed from what we originally used. We worked really closely with a faculty mentor in online learning and technology to learn the tools, and we actually taught other instructors as a result. We also got involved in Quality Matters – instead of just posting a course up there, we wanted to follow some standards. We are an accredited program, so have to do things in a certain way.
We did some audio recordings. We used LoadStar for “Learning Tools” or games and timelines for demonstration of skill. We used video and digital pictures, and for a lot of the complicated skills – both. For example, we would create videos of things like venipuncture, for example – which is a complicated skill – I would have a film for them to watch and then I would do a timeline of each step.
How does this project or practice influence student learning?
We originally created online content (videos, timelines, etc.) for our online/hybrid students, but they have ended up being tools that our in-house students love as well – because they can come and sit in our lectures and listen to our lecture and if they want to they can go home, open the course shell, and bring up an audio lecture that we’ve recorded for the hybrid students.
The same is true for demonstrations. Our hybrid students almost know the procedures better because they can watch the videos over and over again or they can go through the timelines over and over again. Whereas our in-house students – we bring them into the lab, there are 10-15 students standing around you demonstrating a procedure, they have to watch it and then they have to go do it. And you’re there to help them, but they see it that one time.
It’s really enhanced learning, and for us it has really brought a consideration for what our learning group was. They’re hands-on people, typically, but it has also worked for the read/write people, it worked for the auditory learners, the visual learners… We now offer all these tools so students can choose the tool that best matches their learning.
What specific student skills are developed through this project or practice?
It’s really our whole program. We have 176 competencies that we have to document for each student before they graduate from the program. Not all of those are hands-on; some are communication skills, etc.
We started out with just two courses: Clinical 1 and Laboratory 1 – which have counterparts, Clinical 2 and Laboratory 2.
What comments have you received from students about this project or practice relative to their learning? Do you have a direct quote from a student or students that addresses this?
We have heard many times that the majority of student who come into our online/hybrid program would not have been able to do the program unless we had that offered. This was their only option.
How has this project or practice changed the way you teach, or made your teaching better?
It’s made us better teachers to the whole variety of learners. Because previous to being able to record a lecture or use a digital tool you’re just standing in front of them, lecturing and they’re trying to take notes. Having these tools available not necessarily makes us better teachers but makes it easier for us to provide good learning tools to the whole variety of learners that we have – rather than the traditional classroom that is much more geared toward that read/write learner.
How does this project or practice relate to assessment in your course(s)? How do you assess whether the project or practice has been successful/useful in the above areas – such as impact on student learning?
We haven’t for a long time compared on-campus courses to hybrid, but we did early on and the surprising outcome was that our hybrid students did better on the CMA exam – and I think that goes back to the fact they typically are a bit older learners, and have a little bit more life experience. They are highly motivated when doing this kind of a program. They also have to be self-starters so when they do get here (to campus), they are prepared. We also compared our employer surveys of our hybrid cohorts vs. our on-campus cohorts. They hybrid cohorts did a little bit better there as well. Employers were initially surprised the students were from a hybrid program.