Study shows learning preferences at CPP

By Tagui Martirosyan

Most courses offered at Cal Poly Pomona are face-to-face, but the rising use of technology has spurred an increase in online-based lectures over the past few years.

Esmeralda Vazquez de Diriye, a lecturer at the Department of English and Foreign Languages at CPP, conducted a study that surveyed freshmen students from a California State University and a community college. Eighteen females and 23 males were surveyed for the study.

“My study focused on interactions that students have throughout the day. So they have interactions with their instructors, peers and with the course content, and a small part of the survey asked students both their learning styles and preferences,” said Vazquez de Diriye.

According to Vazquez de Diriye, the overall consensus was that students prefer to have face-to-face interactions with their professors.

“I thought that’s very interesting given that everybody is online and that everybody has their tablets and their smart phones. For many students, my assumption was that they would prefer to have some kind of online [content] because that’s how they communicate with their friends and everything else, but they really didn’t,” said Vazquez de Diriye.

The study showed that students expect organization and solid content from their professors. They also expect professors to be attentive and motivational.

“I prefer face-to-face classes because it encourages me to put more effort, ask questions and be more engaged in the subject and during lectures,” said fourth-year kinesiology student Alexander Moukhtarian. “I like the directness of face-to-face courses, but I also find online courses to be very convenient.”

It appears that students adjust to different styles of learning, and professors attempt to deliver information in a variety of ways.

In order to facilitate the integration of technology in the classroom, the eLearning team is available to faculty members as a resource to bridge the gap between traditional teaching methods and technology for the benefit of students.

“Our job on campus is to help faculty create rich technological experiences for students. And this is important in a pedagogically significant way ” so showing faculty they can use technology but not using technology just for its ‘wow’ factor. It needs to actually work,” said Eric Davis, an instructional designer with eLearning.

The eLearning team at CPP is comprised of instructional designers and multimedia developers. The team provides a service of learning, which is called Studio 6. It is a lab established to assist faculty in redesigning and creating new online courses, hybrid courses and web-assisted teaching.

“Tackling a question about converting face-to-face to hybrid or online is multifaceted, I’ll have to say, said Davis. “A poorly designed face-to-face course cannot be converted well. First, the curriculum for a face-to-face course needs to be reviewed and taken a look at. We as instructional designers can help faculty enrich any of their face-to-face activities and their outlines.”

“Once we’ve taken a look at that, we can go through an instructional design process and take a look at some of the activities that might lend themselves well to online or even out of the class,” Davis further explained.

The eLearning team provides training for support services and technologies such as iClicker and Adobe Presenter.

“We also provide support for Blackboard, so we help faculty who may want to move into an online realm using Blackboard because it’s readily available to them,” said Davis. “This year alone, about 52 percent of all the courses offered at CPP used Blackboard in some way.”

“We cannot determine in what capacity all of those faculty [members] are using, but they have at least made the course available to students. So we maybe can assume that they have at least put their syllabus online,” Davis further explained.

According to Davis’ statistics, the courses that were made available on Blackboard reached 97 percent of students at CPP in both winter and spring quarters of 2015, excluding summer.

These numbers have increased since Blackboard was adopted in 2004.

“If well designed, a hybrid or online course may be more beneficial for students who prefer that mode of learning,” said Davis.

Learning Preferences

Sungah Choi / The Poly Post

Learning Preferences

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