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Interaction matters: Strategies to promote engaged learning in an online introductory nutrition course

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Title:Interaction matters: Strategies to promote engaged learning in an online introductory nutrition course
Authors:Banna, Jinan C.
Lin, Meng-Fen Grace
Stewart, Maria
Fialkowski, Marie K.
Keywords:student engagement
synchronous communication
Date Issued:Jun 2015
Publisher:MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching
Abstract:Fostering interaction in the online classroom is an important consideration in ensuring
that students actively create their own knowledge and reach a high level of achievement
in science courses. This study focuses on fostering interaction in an online introductory
nutrition course offered in a public institution of higher education in Hawai‘i, USA.
Interactive features included synchronous discussions and polls in scheduled sessions,
and social media tools for sharing of information and resources. Qualitative student
feedback was solicited regarding the new course features. Findings indicated that
students who attended monthly synchronous sessions valued live interaction with peers
and the instructor. Issues identified included technical difficulties during synchronous
sessions, lack of participation on the part of fellow students in discussion and inability to
attend synchronous sessions due to scheduling conflicts. In addition, few students made
use of the opportunity to interact via social media. While students indicated that the
interactive components of the course were valuable, several areas in which improvement
may be made remain. Future studies may explore potential solutions to issues identified
with new features to further promote interaction and foster learning in the course.
Recommendations for instructors who are interested in offering online science courses in
higher education are provided.
Appears in Collections: CTAHR Faculty & Researcher Works

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