A team at Penn State is taking a deep dive into some of its graduate courses by studying the data that show how students learn and behave. They hope to use their findings to redesign courses in ways that will help students be more successful online learners.
The team of instructional designers, faculty and teaching support specialists has been analyzing these learning analytics from two years’ worth of courses in the Penn State Online MBA program, which is offered through Penn State World Campus and led by the Smeal College of Business.
The data consist of an expansive variety of activities, from the links students click to the depth and quality of the posts they write on discussion boards. The data will be used to guide an innovative approach to course design, aligning the program’s main learning goals to the ways the team wants students to act and engage in the courses.
The work in the online master of business administration (MBA) courses is the first of its kind at Penn State and among the first in online graduate higher education in the country.
“The data represent a study of student behaviors based on the unique graduate level teaching and learning experience and tell us a story about what is happening in our courses,” said Janet Duck, the online MBA faculty chair who has championed the project.
“We can use this story, through deliberate course design, to inspire student behavior that solidifies course competencies and provides an engaged experience for our professional students.”