Driving Success in e-Learning Portals: Piazza, a Multi-Faculty Collaborative Model

Driving Success in e-Learning Portals: Piazza, a Multi-Faculty Collaborative Model

N. Vivekananthamoorthy (Hindustan University, Chennai, India) and Venkata Subramanian D. (Vellammal Institute of Technology, Chennai, India)
DOI: 10.4018/IJWLTT.2019040103
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Technological advancements are triggering disruptive inventions in the teaching and learning process. The introduction of massive online courses offers students many opportunities to enroll in any course they choose, transcending geographical barriers. However, online learning puts responsibility for learning on the learners and lack faculty-student and peer-peer direct interactions. The instructor's role also must be redefined to provide support and collaboration in the online environment. Recent research reports poor student retention and completion rates in such courses and there is a lack of effective frameworks and gap in research related to identifying key factors and finding solutions to these problems. A multi-faculty e-learning framework is proposed based on a theoretical model highlighting important factors to address these problems. Experimental results of an ANOVA analysis done on student performance data collected in a multi-faculty setup provided empirical evidence for its effectiveness in improving the student learning outcomes.
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Motivation And Background

Massive Open Online Courses and Student Retention

Many recent research studies highlight the challenges faced by e-learning portals that support MOOCs. The major findings are summarized below.

Adamopoulos (2013) undertook a study of student performance in MOOCs, and the findings revealed very low student retention rates, and sentiment analysis of student responses showed that the professors’ role constituted a crucial factor in influencing student retention in online courses. Reisman (2014) made an extensive study of the performance of MOOCs and found that the educational improvements attained through such courses were quite low. In spite of a large targeted audience, 90% of the students withdraw from the course in the middle, and only 3% completed the course successfully. Reisman cites the difficulty of monitoring and supporting thousands of online students in a class with only a few instructors, as the student-instructor ratio would be abnormally high. Ho et al. (2014) contend that in spite of massive registrations for such courses, very few participants (5%) complete the course successfully. Around 35% of the registrants never engaged in the course, 55% engage with less than 50% of the course content, and only 5% of the participants engaged with more than half the course content. Watolla, A-K (2016) tried a variety of teaching approaches including the deployment of multilayer instructors and concluded that distributed teaching offered perceived benefits to the learners. The study was based on a 14-week online course organized by the Goethe-Institute in collaboration with some European universities with 17000 online learners from 170 countries. The study concluded that scaling up would involve further iterative studies. Kizilcec, Mar, and Maldonado (2017) highlighted studies conducted of 4200 online courses through 550 institutions that reached 35 million people worldwide in the period 2011-2015 and concluded that the majority of learners were unsuccessful and only a small proportion eventually completed the course.

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