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Engaged to Learn: Validating Dixson's Engagement Measure for Online Students

Barbara Rowan (Pearson North America, USA)
Session Information
October 15, 2015 - 9:15am
Learning Effectiveness
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Research Study
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Northern Hemisphere A1
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 5

A research study providing further validation of Dixson's Online Student Engagement Scale by determining what specific activities or interactions drive higher levels of engagement.

Extended Abstract

Most of the student engagement literature uses measures that were created for use with students who attend face-to-face classes at least some of the time. Dixson (2010) created a student engagement survey for use exclusively with online students. The 19-item measure has been shown to be a reliable and valid measure of student engagement, and provides a 4-factor model of student engagement - Skills, Emotional, Performance, and Participation. Working with a diverse set of partner institutions, the researcher set out to further validate the Online Student Engagement Scale as a measure of student engagement in an online environment. The research surveyed students on a variety of questions regarding the course, instructional method, and instructor delivery of materials, with the goal of evaluating how closely the results aligned with Dixson's original findings.

In this session, the presenter will provide an overview of Dixson's 19-item measure and the research methodology for this specific study. Findings on where this study found similar or dissimilar results to Dixson will also be presented, along with hypotheses as to why any divergences occurred. In addition, the following research questions will be addressed:

What types of active learning in online courses do students report as engaging?
Do highly engaged students report different activities than students who report less engagement?
Do highly engaged students report different student-student communication activities than students who report less engagement?
Do highly engaged students report different instructor-student communication activities than students who report less engagement?

As a result, audience members will gain:

á A deeper understanding of a measure of student engagement exclusively for online students
á Insights into what specific activities or interactions online students find engaging
á Further validation and insights into an important metric for online student success

Lead Presenter

Dr. Barbara E. Rowan is the Director of Academic Research, Efficacy, and Evaluation for Course Design, Development, and Academic Research, for Higher Education at Pearson. In this role, she is responsible for aligning internal standards to third party standards, leading and managing efficacy culture and workflow efforts, and developing and implementing a research roadmap that focuses on instruction, assessment, and learning models and practices. Prior to joining Pearson in 2010, Dr. Rowan spent 20 years in higher education, holding a variety of administrative positions and teaching research methods and statistics courses, both on-ground and online. Dr. RowanÕs research interests include computer-based and computerized adaptive testing, measurement equivalence between computer-based and paper-based measures, student motivation and engagement in the online environment, and online assessment evaluation. Publications and presentations focus on assessment in self-paced, online courses; creation and validation of a measure of quantitative literacy; competency-based education; the science behind learning design; and assessment and measurement-related topics. Dr. Rowan received her M.S. degree in Psychology from Georgia College, and her Ph.D. in Assessment and Measurement from James Madison University.