Universities are increasingly offering online courses. Since technology is used to teach these online courses, researchers and educators are developing and including new media to incorporate in online learning. The purpose of this study is to investigate new media in online learning.
The research was done by Dr. Newberry and his students at California State University, San Bernardino. As a whole class the focus was on three questions that would aid in the investigation. Question number one dealt in finding a relationship between non-music portable media (podcast) consumption and receptiveness for portable media use in online learning. The second question was used to find out what media types do students prefer to use for different course activities related to instructor-student interaction, student-student interaction, and student-content interaction. The third question used for the research was to inquire about what level of involvement in planning, organizing, grading, and making media choices do adult online learners desire. To answer these questions an online survey was used as the instrument. The participants that took the survey had to be highly educated adults.
This literature review is to examine the three issues regarding new media in online education. These are adult learning and andragogy, new media in online education, and social presence and learning with new media. This study will be focusing in the learning styles of adults. As new media in online education emerges, new questions also emerge on the purpose of the new media. Another important aspect in this review is to study the impact of online education on the social interaction of students. The interest in this research arose out of a study that concluded that over 90% of institutions already offered or were planning to offer online instruction (Neuhauser, 2002).
Adult Learning and andragogy
Malcolm Knowles introduced the term andragogy which means adult learning, and ways of learning. Since andragogy refers to an adult learning style, it has been revealed that adults have a greater life experience from which to build on a background than children have. For this reason adult tend to use life experience to understand new experiences.
Also adults tend to be more drawn in path that their learning takes place. The learner should be encouraged to feel and act responsibly in planning, doing and assessing the results of their learning activity, and in their relationships with associates (Burge, 2006).
Through the use of Instant Messaging, students have created and enriched their own learning environment. Students now have control over online learning environments. (Sparks& Mentz, 2006).
New media in online education
Currently the new online media used to communicate the students with the instructor is the blog and the podcast. The blog has become a form to communicate with other students, to comment of other students work, and to post assignments. Since blog can be used from home, many adults find it a convenient media. The data indicated a preference for the flexibility mobile learning provides. Numbers indicate that a majority of students have access to mobile phones so availability is high. Students perceived that the cost of mobile learning would be low as compared to costs associated with face to face learning. Students had misgivings about the quality of learning that could take place and about the amount of information that could be exchanged (Fozdar, 2007).
It is also used to better understand the content. By reading other students’ webblogs, the student that need another perspective to understand a subject. Instructional blogging is a knowledge-centered tool that affords students the opportunity to become involved in research activities and conduct discussions with those who have a greater understanding of the issues or topics. The instructor has the ability to direct students to specific content websites that will assist them in research areas. The instructor can then offer feedback on their progress, or allow others in the field to offer feedback which will enhance the understanding and learning of these specific areas of study. Blogging is particularly helpful to the students when they are given this type of feedback (Glogoff, 2005).
Another purpose of blogs is that it serves as a great tool for presenting students’ work with creative fonts, graphics and color. Blogs usually have creative tools to enhance the presentation of assignments. It offers background with different patterns. It has procedure to include graphics. These tools enhance the creativity of the student. In one study the students agreed that the multimedia project work enhanced their creativity, trained them in a number of important skills like for example computer, video filming and analytical skills. It helped them understand more the material that they were reporting on (Lam & McNaught, 2006).
Social presence and learning with new media
The trend of using online education has raised many issues on the development of social interaction among the students. The use of blogs is used as a tool for communication among students. The only way to express is with written language. This form of communication benefits students who are extremely shy. Stuart Glogoff begins his article with a discussion of how the web has given students and teachers the ability to enable community in online classes. He states that the web offers students the anonymity that they may need. This anonymity of allows students to be more open with sharing their ideas and thoughts than they might be in a classroom with direct contact. He also feels that this type of anonymity often allows others to give more direct types of feedback (Glogoff, 2005).
This is a research study for Instructional Technology 543 a course offered at California State University, San Bernardino. This course increases the students’ ability to locate, evaluate, use and conduct research. To meet this goal the instructor Dr. Newberry is guiding his class in developing a research study. This study is investigating new media in online learning. The following describes the participants involved in the study, the instrument used, and the procedure.
The participants were recruited through informal contacts by researcher through a variety of means. Some were recruited by email because this form is sometimes easier to contract busy people. People that are seen frequently were invited face-to-face. Another alternative was the use of phone calls to recruit. The participants were informed that they were taking a research survey for a course and that the survey only took 15 minutes of their time. To have a much tighter control on participant recruitment there were certain guide lines to follow. They had to be 18 years or older, but to have more control the adult s needed to have a higher education.
This quantitative research used a survey as an instrument. The process to develop the instrument was to first gather questions regarding new media in online learning. The students were required to at least summit three questions then the instructor focused on the following three questions, 1) Is there a relationship between the amount of portable media (podcasts) a student consumes and their desire for portable media use in online learning? 2) What level of involvement in planning, organizing, and making media choices do adult online learners desire? 3) Is the use of collaboration to comment on other students’ work viewed as beneficial by online students? The survey contained many questions that would answer the three focused questions of the research.
The implementation was that the participants took an online survey. They given an URL to locate the survey and were informed that it would take 15 minutes or less to complete it. Since the survey was anonymous they were not required to give any information of themselves. The survey used a scaled questionnaire to measure the attitudes and beliefs of the participants. For this the choices or answers were reflecting varying degrees of intensity. This is an example used in the survey for the respondents to answer a question: 1 meaning that you do not like it at all and a 5 meaning that you like it a great deal.
Online surveys have favorable and negative aspects. A favorable thing is that the participants can take the survey at their most convenient time and don’t have to travel to take the survey. For the researcher is doesn’t involve the handling of papers. A negative aspect of online surveys is the difficulty of not knowing who has and who hasn’t completed the survey.
There were 70 participants that took the online survey, but a few were eliminated from the data set because they didn’t complete all the items. The survey was available online for 10 days. The data was collected by November 7, 2007 and analyzed by a program called SPSS. The purpose of the study was to answer three research questions.
Question 1: Is there a relationship between previous non-music portable media (podcast) consumption and receptiveness for portable media use in online learning?
The answer to question 1, the study focused on items 2, 3, 6, and 9 of the survey. These items were related directly to using podcasts in online learning. In the following table 1 a direct correlation is presented.
V2 V3 V6 V9
V2 :Pearson Correlation 1 .609(**) .465(**) 2.93(*)
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .019
N 64 64 64 64
V3 Pearson Correlation .609(**) 1 .656(**) 4.63(**)
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .000
N 64 64 64 64
V6 Pearson Correlation .465(**) .656(**) 1 .407(**)
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .001
N 64 64 64 64
V9 Pearson Correlation .293(*) .463(**) .407(**) 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .019 .000 .001
N 64 64 64 64
** correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed)
* correlation is significant a the level (2-tailed)
Reporting the correlations:
Correlation coefficients were computed between the items related to respondent prior use of non-music podcasts and use of portable podcasts for course related purposes. All three correlations were significant at the .05 level. The correlations between prior non-music podcast use and instructional use of podcasts were positive meaning that as respondents reported more use of non-music podcasts they also reported higher preference for use of podcasts in classes. The results of the correlations are presented in table 1.
Podcast/Tasks Player Enhanced
Prior Use .609* .465* .293*
Table 1 Correlations Between Prior Non-Music Podcast Use and Preference for Portability in Class Podcast Use (N = 64)
Question 2: What media types do students prefer to use for different course activities related to instructor-student interaction, and student-content interaction?
To answer this question, the survey included items 11 to 52. The participants’ responses to these items are collected in the following long list of descriptive statistics table.
N Minimum Maximum Mean Std. Deviation
V11 64 1 5 4.70 .749
V12 64 1 5 2.77 1.244
V13 64 1 5 3.03 1.391
V14 64 1 5 2.48 1.098
V15 64 1 5 2.95 1.290
V16 64 1 5 3.33 1.209
V17 64 1 5 2.75 1.234
V18 64 2 5 4.36 .932
V19 64 1 5 2.91 1.281
V20 64 1 5 3.41 1.269
V21 64 1 5 2.58 1.152
V22 64 1 5 2.80 1.143
V23 64 1 5 3.55 1.272
V24 64 1 5 2.78 1.253
V25 64 3 5 4.72 .519
V26 64 1 5 2.56 1.344
V27 64 1 5 2.73 1.312
V28 64 1 5 2.31 1.220
V29 64 1 5 2.56 1.355
V30 64 1 5 2.70 1.422
V31 64 1 5 2.48 1.272
V32 64 2 5 4.78 .563
V33 64 1 5 2.50 1.380
V34 64 1 5 3.00 1.480
V35 64 1 5 2.13 1.106
V36 64 1 5 2.33 1.261
V37 64 1 5 3.14 1.500
V38 64 1 5 2.14 1.180
V39 64 1 5 4.22 .967
V40 64 1 5 2.65 1.346
V41 64 1 5 3.41 1.477
V42 64 1 5 2.33 1.183
V43 64 1 5 2.58 1.295
V44 64 1 5 3.67 1.381
V45 64 1 5 2.36 1.252
V46 64 1 5 4.11 1.170
V47 64 1 5 3.22 1.453
V48 64 1 5 3.34 1.300
V49 64 1 5 3.17 1.340
V50 64 1 5 3.55 1.356
V51 64 1 5 3.39 1.410
V52 64 1 5 2.66 1.263
Items 11-17 are related to communication with the instructor about problems in the class (instructor-to-student).
Items 18-24 are about communication with other students to learn more about each other (student-to-student).
Items 25-31 are related to the question about receiving grades form the instructor and other evaluations (instructor-to-student interaction questions).
Items 32-38 are related to submitting assignments for instructor for grading (instructor-to-student interaction questions).
Items 39-45 are about sharing my assignments with the other students for peer review (student-to-student interaction questions).
Items 46-52 are about receiving course lectures and course related content (student-to-content).
The following is another way to look at this which is the means for each technology across all the items.
Email items 11, 18, 25, 32, 39, 46
Video Conference items 12, 19, 26, 33, 40, 47
Blog items 13, 20, 27, 34, 41, 48
Podcast (audio only) items 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 49
Podcast (enhanced) items 15, 22, 29, 36, 43, 50
Threaded discussion items 16, 23, 30, 37, 44, 51
Voice over internet items 17, 24, 31, 38, 45, 52
N minimum maximum mean Std. Deviation
Email 64 1.67 5.00 4.4766 .61926
Video 64 1.00 5.00 2.7708 1.03489
Blog 64 1.00 5.00 3.1536 1.13712
Pod_audio 64 1.00 4.38 2.5000 .92820
Pod_enhanced 64 1.00 5.00 2.7943 1.04051
Threaded 64 1.00 5.00 3.2969 1.09813
Voip 64 1.00 5.00 2.5286 1.02118
Valid N (listwise) 64
Reporting these data:
Means were computed for each of the technology items across the various course related communication tasks. Email was rated as most preferred (M=4.45, SD=.62), threaded discussion was next preferred (M= 3.30, SD =1.10) with blogs almost being rated almost as highly (M=3.15, SD=1.13) and near the middle of the scale. Enhanced podcasts (M= 2.79, SD=1.04), video conferencing (M=2.77, SD=1.03), audio only podcasts (M=2.50, SD=.93) and voice over Internet (M=2.52, SD=1.02) were below the middle of the 5 point Likert scale indicating that they were not preferred for course related communication. These means are reported in table 2.
Technology Mean Standard Deviation
Email 4.45 .62
Threaded Discussion 3.30 1.10
Blogs 3.15 1.13
Enhanced Podcasts 2.79 1.04
Video Conferencing 2.77 1.03
Audio Only Podcasts 2.50 .93
Voice Over Internet 2.52 1.02
Table 2 Means and Standard Deviations of Technologies Used for
Course Related Communication (N=64)
Question 3: What level of involvement in planning, organizing, grading and making media choices do adult online learners desire?
Items 53 to 56 were used to respond to question 3.
Table 3 for question 3
N Minimum Maximum Mean Std. Deviation
V53 64 1 5 4.28 .983
V54 64 1 5 3.77 1.165
V55 64 1 5 3.80 1.198
V56 64 1 5 4.41 .886
Valid N (listwise) 64
Reporting these data:
Means were computed for having a lot of choice items related to andragogy. V56: Having a lot of choice about the type of media or communication technologies used in the class was the most preferred (M=4.41, SD=.886). V53: Having a lot of choice about the assignment that I do for the class the second was with (M=4.28, SD=.983). The third V55: Having a lot of choice about how assignments that I do for the class are graded or evaluated (M=3.80, SD=1.198) and the final V54: Having a lot of choice about the due dates for assignments in the class (M=3.77, SD=1.165). These means are reported in table 3.
Andragogy Means Standard Deviation
(V56) type of media or communication 4.41 .886
technologies used in the class
(V53) choice about the assignments 4.28 .983
(V55) choice how assignments are 3.80 1.198
graded or evaluated
(V54) choice about due dates for 3.77 1.165
assignments in the class
Table 3 Factors related to andragogy in adult learning environments. (N=64)
The data collected from the survey suggested following findings. The finding for question one states that it is clear that prior experience with non-music podcast is associated with a preference for portable media in learning. The improvement of technology has made podcasts more accessible. As school sites are using this to deliver instruction it has become an increasing tool to teach and learn. The internet is another site that uses podcast. Since it is a world wide site it has many users that use podcast. This has made the podcast familiar to many people.
The finding for question number two suggests that e-mail is clearly the preferred technology for all interactions in classes. E-mail had the highest mean compared to the other forms of student interaction. This could be because e-mail is more accessible to the overall public. It was also introduced to the public before threads and blogs, making it the most familiar form of communication. People tend to use what is most familiar to them because they feel more comfortable when using it. E-mail might be the most preferred use of technology, but it is not the most convenient form of communication to enhance social presence. E-mail limits the number of people that can have interaction. This is one of the factors that other more capable media types would be better for varied interactions. Threads and blogs facilitate the posting of work and comments of many people. Since online course could be use for solitary preferences, the use of media that promotes social development is better for online courses.
The last finding is for question number three, which indicate that it seems clear that adults prefer more control on organizing, grading, and media choices in classes. For adult learners control on organizing, grading, and media choices in classes is the key for successfully completing courses. They tend to be more responsible for their education since they are investing their time and money. Grading is another factor in achievement, thus adults tend to discuss with the instructor about their grades. The most important factor is media choice in classes. Adults learners want be treated as adults thus have the freedom to choose the media to deliver assignments and to learn. As adults they might know what type of learners they are and what type of teaching meets their learning needs.
This is significant because it also focuses on how media choices in classes is a factor for adult learning in online courses.
The following is one suggestion for future studies in online learning. One of the problems of this study was in completing the survey. A suggestion for this problem is to have more control on the instrument. Maybe the survey could have technical device that will not allow the participants to exit the survey without completing the survey. Another suggestion is to have a qualitative study in which the instrument could be a case study. By using this form it could eliminate the problem with the recruitment of participants. The researcher would find participants that are willing to be observed working in online courses.
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Glogoff, S. (2005). Instructional blogging: Promoting interactivity, student-centered learning, and peer input. Innovate, 1 (5), 1-6.
Burge, L. (1988). Beyond andragogy: some explorations for distance learning design. Journal of Distance Education, 3(1), 5-23.
Sparks, P., Mentz, L. (2006). Electronic note passing: Enriching online learning with new communications tools. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 2(4), 1-6.
Neuhauser, C. (2002).Learning style and effectiveness of online and face to face instruction. American Journal of Distance Education. 16.
Lam, Paul., & McNaught, Carmel. (2006) Design and evaluation of online courses containing media-enhanced learning materials. Educational Media International, 43(3), 199-218.. 2