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Phase 3

In: Business and Management

Submitted By trustno121000
Words 1690
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Communication plays a large role in higher education. Instructors communicate with students and students communicate with instructors and their peers. In a class, whether in-person or online, instructors often communicate both the information they are teaching and feedback to students. Students communicate their understanding of the subject as well as questions or concerns they might have. When looking at the forms of communication needed to do this, it is obvious there are significant differences between a traditional in-person classroom setting and the many variants of online education. Important questions to ask are, “What are those differences?” and “Does the form of communication make a difference in student motivation?” I will be addressing both questions in this phase of the project. In-Person vs. Online

Communication methods vary widely between an in-person class and an online class. The differences are not particularly obvious, though, especially when you add in the many forms of both online classrooms and in-person classrooms. In higher education, in-person classrooms are dramatically different are not the same as they were from decades ago. While I have used the term “traditional” in describing in-person classrooms, many are not quite traditional at all. Even in-person classes tend to have an electronic element. Often grades and documents are posted in an online forum using a learning management system such as Canvas, Blackboard, Moodle, Latte, etc. Students and professors may exchange emails between classes during times when the class doesn’t meet to ask and answer questions or to incorporate real-time examples of a previous lesson topic. While the actual teaching may not be done in an online setting, the technology is still available for communication purposes and to distribute information. Good! In-person classrooms may be large lecture type classes or smaller discussion- based classes, seminars, colloquiums, or labs. It’s useful to find similarities in communication methods between all of them to be able to compare them to online classes. The most obvious similarity is that they all meet in person, which means that there is some form of human interaction during the class period. An instructor communicates verbally with students to impart information. Students are able to listen to things like tone of voice for cues queues in what information is the most important or what the instructor personally finds exciting.
Non-verbal communication, or body language, is another way a students or teachers may communicate in an in-person classroom setting. Similar to tone of voice, body language also provides indicators for students to interpret what their instructor finds interesting or exciting. Certain physical movements combined with tone of voice may make a lasting impression visually and aurally and can foster a sense of enthusiasm or eagerness to learn more.
Online education takes on many forms. Because the Iinternet is a fairly new technology, there is no specific tradition to model online classes after. Before using the I internet became available for for classroom education purposeeducation,s, there was still a need to be able to take classes from a distance as opposed to learning in an in-person classroom setting. These classes first took the form of correspondence courses conducted via mail. When email gained popularity, it opened up the possibilities to communicate in a more immediate way, which applied well to these types of remote classes.
The speed of the Iinternet influenced the direction online classes took. Typed words and documents take a fraction of the bandwidth required for amount of units of digital information than something like an audio or video file. When personal email accounts were in their infancy, it was impossible to send anything anything more than text. This meant that the idea of modelling an online classroom after an in-person classroom was impossible at the time as well. A classroom lecture could be recorded, but there was no technology available to distribute it in an inexpensive and immediate way.
The limitations in the technology at the time lead to a new type of classroom that mainly focused on written communication. Instructors wrote to their students as an alternative to verbal communication. Students didn’t have a face or voice to connect them to the individual teaching the course or to their peers taking the course. Tone of voice was interpreted through typed words. This became the model of an online course.
As technology advanced, online courses developed in different ways. Some were designed to be worked on being very similar to in-person classrooms by taking advantage of the faster Iinternet speeds and the ability to conducting classes in “real time." e”. This is generally called synchronous learning. Others recorded lectures and uploaded them for students to watch with the added convenience of being able to pause the materialm and come back to it them at a later datelater. This type of online class is usually referred to as a Massive Open Online Ccourse, or a MOOC. Some online classes have very flexible dates and are more self-paced while others follow a more rigid schedule.
There is a wider varietyrange of communication methods for online courses because there is a broader wider range of the ways that online courses are taught. The main thread tying them together is the fact that they are all conducted with students and instructors physically separated. in a way that separates the students and the instructors. To a student, the instructor is a virtual entity until, and only if, the instructor is able to inject his or her their personality into the course. Whether or not that actually matters ties into the next important question.

Student Motivation

Are students more motivated in an in-person class as opposed to an online class? The answer isn’t really the "yes" or "no" that the polar question seems to call for. What motivation means in an education setting needs to be defined first and then it needs to be translated into something more tangible. " Motivation" is a word that can often be used interchangeably with "determination" or "enthusiasm." It’s usually a justification for an action. For the purpose of analysis, the action that a motivated student participates in is continuing in the educational program. This is often called "retention," a retention rate and is something most accredited higher education institutions carefully measure their retention rates. By one definition, By definition, a a retention rate is “the percentage of a school’s first-time, first-year undergraduate students who continue at that school the next year.” (FAFSA)
Some higher education institutions offer online classes exclusively. Others incorporate them into their existing programs. A third option that some schools choose is to offer is a separate online program where students are only able to enroll in all- online classes as opposed to taking both online and in-person classes. It seems more accurate to examine motivation by showing side by side retention rate comparisons for these programs as opposed to programs that only offer online classes or programs that are not able to differentiate between the different retention rates.
Arizona State University is one higher- education institution that offers both online and and in-person degrees independently from each other. Because Arizona State University is the largest public university by enrollment in the United States (Forbes), there should beis enough of a student population to limit any findings regarding the differences from being a fluke. (This is my opinion, not anything that I can actually prove.)
Arizona State University has 66,309 undergraduates as of August 2014. (ASU News, 2014). Of those undergraduates, 10,339 are students at ASU Online (US News). Student retention rate for ASU Online is 80%. (US News) Student retention rate for undergraduates as a whole at ASU is 84%. (ASU News, 2011) The 4% difference is not particularly significant. When looking at retention rates at the largest online schools, many tend to be much lower than that of ASU Online and similar programs. For example, University of Phoenix Online has an enrollment of 170,144 undergraduates, as of 2013, (Grove), with a retention rate of 38%. (Burnsed). I wasn’t able to find retention rates for any University of Phoenix in-person programs, but graduations rates were 4% at two of their campuses compared to the 5% online graduation rate. “Among Phoenix’s online students, only 5 percent graduated within six years, and at the campuses in Cleveland and Wichita, Kan., only 4 percent graduated within six years.” (Lewin, 2010) Again, this is a very small percentage difference between the online classes and the in-person classes. Comparing the two institutions, it seems as if the difference in communication between online and in-person classes doesn’t make a difference in retention rates. Comparing the two institutions to each other results in fairly drastic differences, though. To look at this more in depth and tying it further to types of communication would involve taking a closer look at the schools with information that isn’t currently available online.

References
ASU News. (2011, October 12). New initiatives advance ASU's efforts to enhance student success | ASU News. Retrieved from https://asunews.asu.edu/20111012_eAdvisor_expansion

ASU News. (2014, August 20). Record 82,000 students choose ASU | ASU News. Retrieved from https://asunews.asu.edu/20140821-asu-fall-enrollment

Burnsed, B. (2010, October 22). Online Universities: Retention Rate Data - US News. Retrieved from http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2010/10/22/online-universities-retention-rate-data
FAFSA. (n.d.). What are graduation, retention, and transfer rates? Retrieved from https://fafsa.gov/help/fotw91n.htm
Forbes.com. (n.d.). Arizona State University - Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/colleges/arizona-state-university/
Grove, A. (n.d.). The University of Phoenix Admissions: Admissions Data and General Information. Retrieved from http://collegeapps.about.com/od/collegeprofiles/p/university-of-phoenix-online.htm
Lewin, T. (2010, November 23). report finds low graduation rates at for-profit colleges. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/24/education/24colleges.html
US News. (n.d.). Arizona State University | Online Bachelor's Degree | US News. Retrieved from http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/arizona-state-university-1081/bachelors

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