Academic SupportA Bridge to Online Learning: Be A Successful Online Learner CourseAmman, Jordan
Arizona State University: Education for HumanityAuthor: Matthew Gallagher
Arizona State University’s Education for Humanity initiative provides tertiary education opportunities to communities affected by displacement. In collaboration with local partners, the initiative offers ASU’s online courses to these communities.
Recognizing that the majority of its target population has never participated in online courses, the Education for Humanity team designed and built the Be A Successful Online Learner (BSOL) course. The course consists of four modules that provide a bridge between traditional classroom-based secondary school classes and online university courses. Each of the modules utilize a blended model of online and facilitated learning to assist learners in improving their knowledge of online learning and preparing them to succeed in online university-level courses. The BSOL course takes between five and ten hours per module to complete (depending on learner’s English skills) and includes the following modules: 1) an introduction to online learning, 2) online study skills, 3) information literacy, and 4) a capstone course.
In Jordan, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) collaborates with Al-Quds Bard College to offer two online university-level courses to Amman-based refugees. However, as many of the students were used to face-to-face teaching, course instructors noticed many struggled to manage their time wisely and to initiate communication with both their online instructors and online Al-Quds Bard College students. Education for Humanity, in partnership with JRS, implemented the BSOL course for 23 learners prior to the launch of the next iteration of Al-Quds Bard College courses in order to address the aforementioned challenges.
To assess whether student growth and progress occurred, the students completed pre- and post-surveys, and a paired t-test statistical analysis was conducted on their responses. The analysis found statistically significant change in students’ confidence to contact the online instructor when encountering a challenge during the course, students’ feelings of preparedness to take an online university course, and students’ online communication skills for collaborating with other online students.
The Education for Humanity team continues to collect valuable feedback from learners each time it implements the BSOL course, and uses it to improve and strengthen the course content. Overall, the BSOL course has proven to be a critical bridge for refugee learners entering the online learning environment for the first time, leading the Education for Humanity team to offer the BSOL course prior to all of its online university course offerings.