The Sloan Consortium’s Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks Shares Research on Student and Faculty Experiences and Perceptions of Online Courses

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Latest issue of JALN probes the quality of online interaction and learning.

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The Sloan Consortium’s (Sloan-C’s) Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (Volume 16, Issue 4) brings together scholars and practitioners who share practical advice, specific approaches, and illuminating examples about using analytics to help improve learning in postsecondary contexts. Contributors represent University of Toronto, Texas Tech University, University of Memphis, Purdue University, Northern Illinois University, Open University of Israel, DeSales University, University of Central Arkansas, University of North Florida, Long Island University and the University of Texas.

Highlights from JALN Volume 16 Issue 4

In “Blended Course Design: A Synthesis of Best Practices,” Patricia McGee and Abby Reis analyze common principles for the design process, pedagogical strategies, classroom and online technology use, assessment strategies, and course implementation and student readiness, highlighting disconnects and areas for closer research.

In “Multidimensional Assessment of Blended Learning: Maximizing Program Effectiveness Based on Student and Faculty Feedback,” Orly Calderon, Amy Patraka Ginsberg and Liz Ciabocchi share results of an assessment designed to gather feedback from faculty and students and administrators on multiple aspects of blended courses. The sufficiency of university resources for blended learning emerged as the strongest predictor of student satisfaction.

In “Using a Generalized Checklist to Improve Student Assignment Submission Times in an Online Course,” Terence Cavanaugh, Marcia L. Lamkin and Haihong (Helen) Hu find that students who receive checklists turned in their work two to five times earlier than those who did not. This paper discusses improvement of assignment submission timeliness related to higher course satisfaction for students and instructors.

In “No Significant Difference in Service Learning Online,” Sue Y. McGorry compares traditional and online delivery of service learning for developing awareness of civic responsibilities, leadership and management skills, and social responsibility.

In “A Comparison of Non-Mandatory Online Dialogic Behavior in Two Higher Education Blended Environments,” Paul Gorsky, Avner Caspi and Ina Blau interrogate the relationship among cognitive, social and teaching presences and learning outcomes. They find that social presence (instructors and students) in a typical higher education course discussion forum (in a blended learning environment with non-mandatory participation) accounts for about 60 percent of the content. The authors suggest, “Whether and how social interaction affects actual learning in asynchronous discussion groups remains unclear and constitutes an important area for future research.”

In “Interaction in an Asynchronous Online Course: a Synthesis of Quantitative Predictors,” Daniel Zingaro and Murat Oztok seek to better understand and encourage meaningful communication in online courses. Six predictors were examined and three predictors—long notes, notes written early in the week and notes containing at least one question—all lead to higher probabilities that a note receives a reply.

In “Interpersonal Interaction in Online Learning: Experienced Online Instructors’ Perceptions of Influencing Factors.” Cindy S. York and Jennifer C. Richardson provides an inventory of strategies that novice and experienced online instructors alike can use to impact interpersonal interaction in online courses.

In “Do Students Experience ‘Social Intelligence,’ Laughter and Other Emotions Online?,” Katrina A. Meyer and Stephanie J. Jones point out that, “In the debate over its effect on users, the Internet has been attributed with both freeing humankind to explore limitless information and dooming them to isolation and social autism.” In this study, students report experiencing the capacities comprising social intelligence “sometimes,” but more frequently in online classes than in non-class-related online activities. The students were mostly likely to present themselves effectively and care about others and least likely to sense others’ emotions.

About JALN
Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (JALN), published by the Sloan Consortium, is a major source of knowledge about online education. The aim of the JALN is to describe original work in asynchronous learning networks (ALN), including experimental results. It is available online and in print. For more information, visit

About Sloan-C
The Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) is an institutional and professional leadership organization dedicated to integrating online education into the mainstream of higher education, helping institutions and individual educators improve the quality, scale, and breadth of education. For more information, visit

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