Friday, September 27, 2013

Online Orientation Course

After working here for awhile and encouraging everyone to use the online system for coursework (Jenzabar e-Racer), it became clear that we simply had not developed a culture of electronic learning. Instructors were learning to use the system for grading, attendance, coursework, and more, but students were lagging behind; we were losing them, and their performance was suffering.

I was asked to create an online orientation course to familiarize them with the system, and just as I was starting I had an epiphany. I needed to connect the use of the system to the seven Anishinaabe values around which our entire curriculum is based. As crazy as it sounds, it wasn't difficult to connect wisdom, love, humility, courage, respect, honesty, and truth to the use of the system.

Doing this did what I'd hoped - helped students to connect with the responsibilities I was asking them to take on - and also something I hadn't expected. For some students, it was the first time they'd ever heard of the values, so it served as an introduction to both the words in Ojibwemowin and the concepts as related to the Ojibwe culture.

So far this semester, of the 296 students enrolled in the course at LLTC and Red Lake Nation College, twelve percent (36) have completed it fully. Forty-four percent (131) are in the process, and the remainder have not yet begun. They have until the end of the semester to complete it, and most of these students are continuing students.

According to the survey that students take at the end of the course, twenty-eight percent didn't even know what the portal (that's what we call the Jenzabar e-Racer interface) was before taking the course. The number of students who reported being uncomfortable with the portal dropped from forty percent before the course to twenty-eight percent afterward.

More than half of the students complete the course with the help of an instructor, usually in the Path to Success class, though it is designed to be completed alone. As we continue through the semester, I will be encouraging students to complete the course and will report in December the overall results and completion rate.

Click here to view the videos on YouTube. They make up about half the course. The remainder is exercises designed to get the students using various aspects of the portal.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Melanie! The students have come a long way in the e-world in the last two years!