Hostos Online Learning Assessment (HOLA): Evaluation of Student Perceptions in Two Cohorts
Kate S. Wolfe, Assistant Professor, Behavioral and Social Sciences; Jacki DiSanto, Assistant Professor, Education Department; Iber Poma, Coordinator of Student Support, Educational Technology Department; & Wilfredo Rodriguez, Coordinator of Educational Technology, Educational Technology Department, Hostos Community College
We will discuss the Hostos Online Learning Assessment (HOLA) project. This is an ongoing assessment initiative which is evaluating online courses (including both asynchronous and hybrid courses) at an Hispanic-serving institution, so we will be presenting information from a survey of student perceptions of online learning across two fall cohorts, Fall 2015 and Fall 2016. We will discuss major findings from each cohort independently as well as trends across both cohorts. Students in 2015 perceived online learning equally as difficult as a face-to-face course, online courses were accessed from multiple locations using multiple devices, navigate Blackboard well, have favorable attitudes toward professors but find the course design to be poor. There is still an issue with almost one-third of these students unaware that they were enrolled in an online course. Our qualitative findings correspond to previous research that demonstrates three primary reasons for taking an online class: distance, scheduling, and ease. Other factors that were important for students enrolling in an online course were: flexibility, convenience, and efficiency. We found that only 8% enrolled because they expected the course to be easy. We expect student perceptions to be similar in the fall 2016 cohort. These perceptions are important to understand so we can build upon best practices and determine if students are ready to work in an online environment. We will discuss limitations to this research as well as future plans.