The transitioning of content from face-to-face to distance delivery is rather challenging.
Section 1: The problem to be investigated
The project that is connected to this assignment is the writer’s research proposal. The topic is: Improving teachers’ ability to write content for distance course delivery. The writer has done literature review and matches in order to get toward completing the proposal which is still in the ‘writing’ stage.
More specifically the problem that the writer is interested in investigating for the assignment is the difficulty teachers are experiencing in the transitioning of content from face to face to distance delivery. The project is to be implemented at the writer’s institution, a private college that is funded by government and the Catholic Church. The institution is situated in a southeastern city on a Caribbean island. The student population is about 1000 with a ratio of about 19:1 females to males.
The students and the staff are predominantly black with an ethnic mix of about 0.5 % Chinese, 2% Indian and 97.5% Black. The faculty and staff include 40 lecturers, five paraprofessionals, 14 full-time custodial workers, nine office (clerical) staff, a guidance counselor, a vice-principal, and a principal.
It is the writer’s view that this research is very important as it will provide information on the problem. There are several reasons why the writer has shown interest in the topic but most importantly because the tutors at the writer’s workplace are required to have their courses available online so that students may have unlimited access to the courses. The college has a computer lab with the computers networked. There are state of the art technologies in place; upgraded computers, educational software, digital cameras, videos, internet connection and course platform such as Virtual U software and Blackboard.com. All students are exposed to use the computers as a learning aid and for research projects. It is incumbent that teachers use the available technologies. With the increasing number of new students’ applicants especially from far rural areas the college is desirous to expand and stretch its wings to offering distance education.
All teachers are expected to put his/her course(s) online by the end of 20++ academic year. Observations, surveys, and interviews indicated that the teachers have difficulty transitioning face to face content to distance education content.
The major causes that were found, that contribute to the problem are:
1. 38 of the 40 lecturers who were interviewed have never written content for distance course.
2. 30 of the 40 lecturers, who were interviewed, indicated that they were not exposed to use technology to assist with instruction for distance delivery.
3. 35 of the 40 lecturers who were interviewed indicated that they do not know what media to use in a distance delivery for a corresponding activity that is used in face to face delivery.
4. All 40 lecturers indicated that interaction would be a key factor in the transitioning of content when considering activities written for face-to-face to be transferred to activities for distance delivery.
5. 39 of the 40 lecturers indicated that there is an inadequate support system to aid in the transitioning of content.
To date no tutor has completed a written course outline for online access because of the difficulty they are experiencing in transition content from face to face to distance
C. Literature Review
The transition of content that is written for face to face delivery to distance may better enhance the process by the integration of technology. Many content activities that are used in face to face delivery can be replaced by more technology driven activities that
are student friendly and enhance instruction and learning for distance delivery.
Like many educational institution today, the writer's institution has been offering instructional options for content delivery but transitioning the content to distant mode is plaguing many tutors. Many teachers are scared to embrace the different pedagogy that is required in the delivery of content at a distance, certainly more preparation is needed and the content has to have strong support technology. For this reason the revolution in technology based instruction has not been lead by teachers. This puts teachers in an odd position. (Bergman, 1998). The results of the findings of two studies, indicated that there is a significant relationship between face to face content and distance content (Wright, 1997; Marchese, 1996). Several other studies have examined the relationship between academic achievement and the use of technology in both face-to-face and distance modes. Baker and Hale (1997) contend that there are few rewards or incentives to pioneer in the technology integration area of education. But according to researchers McKinnon, Nolan, and Sinclair, (1997) the teachers also have a fear of time commitment often needed to pioneer in a newer area of teaching, say from one mode to another.
In any transition change is inevitable. Most distance based courses have content framework set out in a kind of hierarchical structure, where each item is a link in an activity that covers a single concept (Novak, 1996). For the face-to-face delivery the activities do not have to be detailed as the teacher will be present to explain bits and pieces, whilst for distance delivery each concept has to be carefully explained utilizing activities, usually generated by use of technology.
The Program Objectives
1. To enable teachers to write content for distance course delivery.
2. To develop teachers’ skills in transitioning content from face to face to distant delivery.
3. To enable teachers to choose the most appropriate media for distance content activities.
4. To enable teachers to write content activities that are appropriate for the respective interactions viz. student-material, student-student, and student-instructor.
5. To develop a web site for the courses available to serve as a valid information base for the teachers.
D. The Program
Teachers will have their respective course syllabuses for face-to-face delivery available. For each activity the teacher will categorize the interaction whether: student-student, student-
material or student – instructor. The teacher will select from a wide range of media to choose which medium is most appropriate to deliver the same instruction via distance mode. A web site will be developed and a model course will be placed online for distance delivery. The corresponding face-to-face activities to distance delivery activities will be compared so that teachers may see the type of media that were selected for the activities. Teachers will be exposed to a lab class setting where instructor will discuss each activity and its instructional delivery for face-to-face versus its instructional delivery for distance mode. Teachers will use model course originally written for face-to-face delivery and rewrite the model course content for distance delivery. A model transitioning of a course will be available that teachers will use as an example.
Teachers will then provide his/her course content for face-to-face delivery then use the example of the model course to do the transitioning of the written course content from face-to-face to distance delivery form. In order to assist the teachers a mentorship system will be established. Teachers will have training available in the transitioning of content for 4 weeks at 4 hours per week (16 hrs.) The purpose of this study is to improve teachers’ ability to write content for distance course delivery.
Proposal to Investigate the Problem using Quantitative Methods
A. Research Questions
The study will attempt to address the following research question:
Is there a significant difference between teacher’s transitioning skills before and after completion of training?
Pretest and posttest data results will be used to cite differences. The data will be obtained from questionnaire, survey and observations. The writer expects that after implementation at least 35 of the 40 teachers will be competent at transitioning content to distance mode.
B. Research Design
This is a pre-experimental design, a one group pretest –posttest design. The purpose of using this format is to determine whether the program helps in enabling teachers to effectively carry out the task of the transitioning of content from face-to-face mode to distance delivery mode. This technology-based program will be implemented with the use of the college computer lab. The instruction will be delivered via a networked lab with a computer-generated projector with all available technologies. An interactive guide will be available with the program objectives, the instructional materials, instructor’s activities, learners' activities, methodologies, activities to be completed, and assessment.
Pre and Posttest
The pretest and posttest will be administered to ensure reliability and internal validity. There are limitations such as the events that may occur in the interim between pretest and posttest that may jeopardize internal validity. “Instrument decay” is another limitation. That is where human observers are used to provide data for a process of learning; another limitation can result from passage of time; when there is too much time lapse between pretest and posttest thus giving a skewed result.
A convenience sampling will be selected. A sample of 40 teachers will be taken from a population of 500 teachers in the Teachers’ Colleges in the island. All the teachers have at least a first degree in their subject area.
The teachers are all competent in the use of English language. 10 out of the 40 participants have computers at home but all 40 participants have access to a computer at least 5 times per week for at least 1hour per access. The participants will be informed of their rights to withdraw, deception is a “no, no.” Participants will not be ridiculed in any if performance is dismal. Re participant’s grade, confidentiality and anonymity will be maintained to a certain extent.
D. Data Collection
In order to achieve the objectives of the study, the following instrument will be developed: Interview/Questionnaire and an Observational schedule. The instruments will be prepared and sent to infield experts for content validity. Recommended changes will be taken into consideration and instruments will be fine –tuned then pilot tested.
The questionnaire will consist of 20 items and the structured interview 10 items. The questionnaire will be divided into two sections. The first section will be soliciting personal data, such as: teaching experience, gender, and personal skills. The second section will pose questions as to the various difficulties in transitioning of content. A five-point Likert –Scale instrument will be used to measure the effectiveness. The expected time of completion of the items on this instrument is 20 minutes.
The interview schedule will contain 10 questions which will focus on difficulties encountered in transitioning of content.
The observation schedule will be such that while participants are at work in the lab their performances will be assessed as to how they use the various technologies and the skills displayed in transitioning content from the model content. Lab observations and journal entries will be used to determine confidence levels. Observations will be scheduled once per month. Records of participant’s performance will be collected for analysis.
For the analysis simple descriptive statistics will be used such as: frequencies, mean, range, standard deviation, variances, and correlation. The information will be presented in tables and graphs. Pretest and posttest scores will be compared. A dependent T-test for paired sample will be used for comparison between pre and posttest scores. The writer will keep a journal to record unexpected outcomes.
The implementation date of the study will be March 20xx at a college, which is situated in a southeastern city in the Caribbean Islands.
Step1: will be on Jan, 20xx which will begin with sample selection.
Step 2: instrument development and data collection – pretest.
Step 3: organizing work area for training session.
Step 4: Feb, 20xx; - commencement of training and discussion of ethical principles that are applied to research conducted with human subjects in the writers work setting.
Step 5: training for software use and familiarity with one online platform.
Course Info (Blackboard. Com)
Step 6: March, 20xx; implementation will begin. Participants will be involved
in the program exercises. Participants will be informed about the importance of their participation and the role of the writer in the program
Implementation will be for four months (week#1 of March, 20xx to week#4 of June, 20xx).
- Participants will view model course demonstration of transition of content
from face to face to distance delivery.
- Participants will practice transitioning accordingly while the writer will
observe each participant.
- participants will use selected course(s) to put online for distance delivery
At the end of the training sessions the participants will do a posttest. Participants
final task will be to put the complete course on a distance education platform Course Info (Blackboard . com).
Proposal to Investigate the Problem using Qualitative Methods
A. Research question
What experiences contribute to participants' reactions towards transitioning content from face-to-face to distance delivery?
B. Research Design
The research design is a one-group case study. The writer will use the participants’ observational approach to data collection. Emphasis will be placed on participants’ experiences. Participants will be observed throughout the program and interviews with them will be tape-recorded.
The study will take place in a technology-based lab setting at a college in a southern city in a Caribbean island. It is necessary to establish a good relationship with the participants in this type of research because the quality of the relationship will directly affect the quality and validity of the data to be obtained. The participants that will be investigated are 10 tutors from the writer’s college conveniently selected from a population of 500 tutors island- wide. All 10 participants are subject specialists in their field. They are competent at writing content for instructions in the face-to-face mode. The participants all have training in the use of computer and technology in education. To select the 10 participants, 40 participants will be interviewed as to their literacy in use of technologies: computer, over head projectors, video etc. and those with five or more years of teaching experience and most frequent use of the technologies will be selected. After the sample is selected the participants will be duly informed of: their rights to withdraw, risk factor, privacy, safety, confidentiality, anonymity, other ethical considerations, and the use of findings.
D. Data Collection
The techniques for gathering the data will be informal interviews, taking of extensive and detailed field notes focus group, and observations.
The writer will use informal interviews to gather information in the participants’ own words. Open-ended informal interview techniques will also be used to collect fixed-responses. The focus group will be used to obtain views and opinions about experiences. Field notes will involve descriptions of events and activities. These notes will be used to supplement information from interviews. Participants will be observed during activities.
One potential threat to validity is “researcher bias” resulting form selective observations, selective recording and reporting information and allowing personal views to affect data interpretation. In order to minimize such biases the writer will:
(1) attempt to provide factual accounts and accurate interpretations.
(2) share interpretations with the participants in order to clarify any misunderstanding.
(3) follow a step by step outline in the research process.
Data will be collected over a 6-month period. Interpretations and conclusions will be discussed to gain a “fool proof” account. The writer will conduct data triangulation and will collect data through the means of interviews, questionnaires, and observations of lab activities.
The analysis will seek to ‘paint a picture ‘ in order for the writer to make sense of all data collected and what was observed, documented or heard in the focus group. The data analysis will be represented by written statements and tables showing the information obtained. An interpretational analysis would be performed whereby each data will be examined closely in order to find constructs, themes, and patterns that can be used to describe and explain the phenomenon in the research question to be answered. The writer would be inclined to use interpretational analysis and compile all the data into a computer database. The handwritten notes would be typed and formatted as computer flies. Documents and other typed materials may be transformed into computer flies by using a scanner. From this database (all the computer flies containing the case study data) a software program will be used to manipulate these data and perform the interpretational analyses. The writer will start by having the software program assign a number to each line of text in the database. Next the writer breaks the text into meaningful segments. A segment (also called a meaning unit or analysis unit) is a section of the text contains one item of information that is comprehensible even if read outside the context in which it is embedded. The writer will then develop a set of categories that adequately encompass and summarize the data and will determine what is worth taking note of, in each segment of the database.
The instruments will be developed one (1) month prior to the start of this study. The instruments will be sent to two (2) subject experts and a teacher to establish reliability and validity. Within the month, the instruments will be pilot tested and the necessary change(s) will be made. Participants will be observed during their lab activities from day one(1) and extensive field notes will be taken. Weekly focus group meetings and interviews with participants will be done over the six (6) months. Data will be collected from February ,20xx to June, 20xx.
The quantitative researcher assumes an objective social reality and prepares impersonal, objective reports of research findings. The qualitative researcher on the other hand assumes that social reality is constructed by the participants in it and prepares interpretive
reports that reflect the researcher’s constructs of the data and an awareness that readers will form their own constructions from what is reported.
The quantitative approach unlike the qualitative approach is more focused on outcome oriented methods, whereas, the qualitative approach requires a different category of methods of investigation, one that is more process-oriented. In the quantitative study, the data collected will be objectively taken from the sample. Numerical data are represented and preconceived concepts and theories are used to determine what data will be collected. Statistical methods are used to analyze data. The qualitative study on the other hand generates verbal data and uses analytic introduction to analyze data.
The design of the quantitative study is pre-experimental and makes use of the detached non-participants stance with structured observations; whereas, the qualitative study makes use of participants’ observations to the point of sharing perspectives, focus group, and informal interviews.
From an epistemological standpoint the writer would choose the quantitative approach if given a choice and this is mainly because as the researcher, the writer can assume an objective social reality, take an objective detached stance toward research participants and their setting, and analyze social reality into variables.
Baker, A; & Hale, P. R. (1997). Integrating technology into teacher preparation programs: Creating shared visions. The American School Board Journal, 177 (6), 22-25.
Bergman, S. (1998). Computers in the classroom: Assessing the impact of k-12 technology. Media Technology Services, Groton CT.
Marchese, D. H. (1996). Integrated learning systems: From teacher-proof to teacher empowering. Contemporary Education 63, 15-19.
McKinnon, D. H; Nolan, C. J; & Sinclair, K. E. (1997). A longitudinal study of student attitudes toward computers: Revolving an attitude Decay Paradox. Journal of Research on Computing in Education 32 (3), 325-35.
Novak, J. D. (1996). Concept mapping: A tool for improving science teaching and learning. In Treagust, D. F; Duit, R; & Fraser, B. J. (Eds.), Improving teaching and learning in science and mathematics (pp.32-43). New York: Teachers College.
Wright, A. (1997). Effectiveness of computer-based education in colleges: The computing teacher, 22 (5), 12-15.