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Exploring the “Digital Divide”

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Exploring the “Digital Divide” Powered By Docstoc
					Exploring
   the “Digital Divide”

Determining Obstacles to Student
Success in Online Developmental
Writing Classes
Online Enrollment:
   Approx. 3.5 million college students took at least one class online
   20% of the total college enrollment is now online
   10% increase from 2005
   Two-year colleges are leading the growth -- account for nearly half
    of online enrollments
   88% of two-year colleges anticipate their online growth rates to
    continue.
   Overall enrollment growth rate of only 1.3%



“Online Nation: Five Years of Growth in Online Learning.” Sloan Consortium. 2007. 18
   June 2008 <http://www.sloan-c.org/publications/survey/survey07.asp>
Developmental Students:
   99% of community colleges and 70% of universities offer
    developmental courses
   40% of incoming students test into developmental levels
   some institutions report as high as 70% for particular
    subjects
   These numbers are predicted to rise


Saxon, D. Patrick and Hunter Boylan. “Characteristics of Community College Remedial
   Students.” National Center for Developmental Education. 1999. 10 June 2008.
   <http://www.ncde.appstate.edu.htm>
Developmental Online Enrollment:

 3.8% of classes were offered online
 3.6% offered as a hybrid class




Gerlaugh, Katherine, Lizette Thompson, Hunter Boylan and Hildreth Davis. “National
   Study of Developmental Education II: Baseline Data for Community Colleges.”
   Research in Developmental Education 20.4 (2007): 1-4.
Educator Resistance:
   2nd largest obstacle to increasing online offerings („Online Nation”)

   Instructors feel insecure and loss of control when embracing new
    technologies

   Online classes seen as harder to teach and generating a greater
    workload

   Mostly altruistic desires to protect these students:
    -- believe these students lack computer skills and technology access
    -- believe they lack self-discipline and motivation
    -- believe they lack good study and “student” skills
Research Questions:

 What are the barriers for success for
  developmental writers taking online or
  computer-assisted courses?
 To what extent do these barriers affect
  student outcomes?
Importance:
   No comprehensive studies that determine barriers to
    student success in developmental online courses
   Creates a “Catch-22” scenario:
        -- If barriers exist, failure and withdrawal rates will
          increase.
        -- Restricting online opportunities risks their ability
          for full preparation and access in subsequent
          courses.
   Risk widening the “digital divide” rather than shrinking it
Neo-Marxist framework:
   Neo-Marxism softens the traditional Marxist stance
   Considers issues of social inequality, status, culture, and
    power
   Applies to developmental online courses:
       -- Economic status seen as factor in online success
       -- The concept of a school as a social institution
       -- Compelled to act upon the knowledge of social
          inequities: implementing the course delivery which
          best matches students‟ technology skills
Neo-Marxist framework:
Neo-Marxist educational theorists: “the major concern…
  has been with the relationships between the economic
  base and the role of the school in maintaining class
  divisions and the hegemonic culture” (Bowers 365)
   -- Educators decide not to offer online courses based on
      perceived technology limitations due to student
      economic status
   -- Poor students fall further behind middle- and upper-
      class students in both education and career
      opportunities
   -- Class divisions perpetuated
Neo-Marxist framework:
   Marxist Sociology -- Aligns toward a sociological approach
     -- Emphasis on the power of capital to “devalue, degrade, and
        divide workers” (“Marxist Sociology” 184)
     -- Emphasis on culture and cultural institutions

   Culture of developmental students is in economic flux:
     -- Transitioning “from an industrial society, organized around the
        production of goods, to post-industrial society, organized around
        the provision of services and advanced technologies that release
        labor from direct production” (Block and Hirschhorn 363).
     -- Results in a social crisis in which existing social forces “block the
        release of new productive forces, creating social and economic
        stalemate” (Block and Hirschhorn 364)
Research:
Data from Tennessee Board of Regents‟ redesigned writing programs:

   Survey:
    -- Student demographics, technology access, computer skills levels, and
        educational background
   Interview:
     -- Students – to determine non-technology barriers and affective domain
         influences; to explore student narratives as developmental writers
     -- Instructors – to determine perceptions of barriers to online success and
         of developmental students in general
   Analyze:
    -- Availability of school-sponsored support
    -- Student outcomes in online, hybrid and face-to-face courses
“Teachers who decide to transform their
composition classrooms from a traditional
environment to a computer-based
environment should be prepared to make a
paradigm shift.”


        --   Dave Moeller, Computers in the Writing Classroom

				
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