In response to novice online learners in distance learning courses submitting work late and missing elements of various assignments, research on using generalized checklists as a strategy or tool to assist students in doing their work and submitting that work on time was undertaken. This generalized assessments checklist for distance learning students taking an asynchronous course was designed using the READ-DO checklist design standards and distributed to by email on a weekly basis. The checklist was found to be statistically significant as a strategy in improving submission times for asynchronous distance learning students.
A checklist of action steps associated with asynchronous online instrution was developed for students. This generalized checklist of their activities was emailed to them weekly as a reminder of the various activities/aspects that they were to do each week in an online class: reading, online content, collaborative elements, weekly assignments, and long term assignments. The checklist was produced as a PDF document for printing and interaction, and the contents were also placed in the email.
An analysis of the timeliness of sumission assignments was completed and found that the use of the generalized checklist in this study was found to statistically significient difference existed between the two group concerning assignment submission timeliness. An initial descriptive analysis of results to examine students’ submission patterns that might have been influenced by the checklist noted a mean (x̄) that was almost twice as large for the experimental compared to the control. Students who received checklists were found to be timelier in submitting their work than those who did not receive a checklist. This effect was noted even when both control and experimental groups received reminder notes concerning work completion. The checklist appears to assist the student as a monitoring and completion tool.
Learning Effectiveness: Using structured generalized checklist in online instruction appears to be an effective resource, providing students with an easy to use self-monitoring tool, one that standardizes performance and actions in the online learning environment.
Faculty Satisfaction: Not only did the use of the generalized checklist in this study significantly influence assignment submission timeliness, the reduction of delay, was meaningful to the instructors as it as the end result, it served to reduce the additional workload associated with late work and made their work easier, making them more satisfied with their work.
Since there is a zero materials cost to implement the checklist resource, and with applications such as email scheduling, it is even possible to set up a whole course’s checklist emails for a semester in just a few minutes; the checklist can be an effective, efficient, and cost effective tool in assisting students to complete the various aspects of an online class, and improve their submission times.
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