A Design Journey Begins
In May 2017, Dr. Shrikhande reached out to CETL to inquire about transforming his face to face FI 4040 course to an online experience. As indicated by the instructor, more and more courses in his department provide the online option for students to take. Dr. Shrikhande and I quickly scheduled a kick-off meeting in June to talk more details about this course. So, our journey to design this new online course began.
FI 4040 (International Finance) addresses the problems faced by international investment bankers or financial officers working in multinational firms. Most students in this course are in either junior or senior years since this is the last required course for students majoring in the Department of Finance.
In our kick-off meeting, I learned that although Dr. Shrikhande had already used some tools such as Panopto to record his lecture, he had never taught or took any online courses before this experience. He also asked me some questions about the tools and learning management system (iCollege) and shared his concerns with me about designing and teaching online. In particular, he was concerned about the number of lecture videos he thought he would have to make and what tools or devices he had to learn to create videos. However, I assured him that good course quality relies on well-planned, pedagogically-sound course design and careful course implementation rather than particular tools or content types. Let me share some of the important course design aspects that we co-created below.
Pedagogical Change: Flipped Classroom in the Virtual Environment
A flipped methodology can be used in online as well as face to face classes. In this case, each week students freely managed their time with the course modules. In particular, they watched pre-recorded lecture videos and read the e-textbook. These pre-recorded lecture videos were created in the CETL studio and with the lecture-capture tool Panopto. In order to check comprehension, after watching videos students completed short quizzes. Every Friday, students had the option to join a session using the video conferencing tool WebEx to meet with the instructor and TA and ask questions. In our mid-course and post-course evaluations, multiple students indicated that this pedagogy helped provide them with a flexible alternative since many were juggling coursework and jobs. For example, one student pointed out “I like the hybrid format with the online tutorials and videos, then a few actual classes where we all meet.”
Collaborative Assessment: Group Case Report
One of the major assessments in FI 4040 is the group case report. In this assessment, 4 or 5 students form a group to collaboratively complete a case report. Here, we utilized the discussion board in iCollege to create a group space. This allowed students in each team to share, communicate, and discuss the relevant resources and the case. This space not only encouraged interaction among students, but also allowed the professor and T.A. to monitor and compare individual group progress. As needed, the course facilitators could then step in to provide additional supports. In the post-course evaluation, one student indicated that “… one of the strengths in this course was the quality meaningful group work.”
Adoption of Media Tools and Implications Learning Analytics
In this course, we adopted multiple media tools such as Kaltura, Panopto, and WebEx to engage students and increase interaction in asynchronous and synchronous sessions. These three media tools collect different type of data (e.g., the number of times individual videos were played and the total view time per video) and can visualize the data for learning analytics purposes.
In this way, instructors can more quickly check student engagement for pre-recorded lecture videos and participation in WebEx session. This type of data can also help instructors make decisions about course content. For instance, if students are spending significant time with a particular video or watching it multiple times, this suggests an area of difficulty that where students may need additional help. Students’ perception about the adoption of these media tools tended to be positive. For example, several students stated that online chat sessions on WebEx were helpful in clarifying abstract concepts.