Edinboro University Early Childhood and Reading Professor, Linda Best, recently published her third “International Journal of Scientific Research in Education” article, in regards to the effect academic leveling has on students’ perceptions of online learning. Best’s, “Does Academic Level Affect Student Perceptions of Threaded Discussions in Online Learning,” article was published in the journal’s September 2015 issue.
Best was assisted in the writing of her third article by Dr. Daniel Shelley, professor emeritus at Edinboro University and university professor at Robert Morris University. The pair have collaborated on Best’s past two “International Journal of Scientific Research in Education” articles, and worked together over a span of three months researching and preparing for their recent online learning article.
Best remarked that she and Shelley devoted a considerable amount of time to research before beginning their writing process, and obtained a large sample size for their research.
“Our sample size included freshman, to doctoral level students, at three universities and [it] helped us gain insights into preferences for online discussions,” said Best.
Additionally, Shelley shared that the most challenging part of producing the online learning article was compiling all of the data that was collected.
“The challenge is always making sense of the data that your research project has acquired. The data not only has to [be] analyzed effectively, it must also be discussed and displayed in an understandable, meaningful way,” said Shelley.
Best mentioned that the writing process was exceedingly tedious, as well, stating, “The process is technical by nature and it takes time to organize your ideas for a wider audience. It also requires a different genre of writing that is much more technical in nature.”
However, the process would be extremely rewarding at its conclusion. “The actual writing of the article is the best part, as it allows time for personal reflection, as the researcher synthesizes the data into tables, charts, along with the narrative.”
In addition to the research and writing process, Best also expressed that she decided to write about the academic level and online learning relationship because of her immense involvement in Edinboro University’s online education, and her desire to make the online program better.
“I wanted to know if freshman thought differently about online class discussions than perhaps the graduate level student or even the doctoral level student. I believe insights into the perceptions of students can help faculty design online learning environments that reflect best practices,” Best said.
Shelley concurred with Best’s desire to research for the purpose of learning and improving not only Edinboro University’s online learning program, but online educational programs everywhere.
“We hope to add to the existing body of knowledge on the topic. It is our hope that other researchers will look at our work and perhaps continue to examine these critical issues for all educators,” said Shelley.
Furthermore, when asked about their initial response to the publication of the “Does Academic Level Affect Student Perceptions of Threaded Discussions in Online Learning” article, both professors agreed that having another article published in the international journal was rewarding.
“It was rewarding to see the third article in our series published. We hope that others who may have a similar interest will find our research articles informative and thoughtful,” remarked Best. Shelley also added that his and Best’s article was accepted by the renowned journal with only minor editorial changes.
“We were pleased when we were notified that our article was accepted for publication in an international technology journal,” Shelley said.
Shelley also commented on how easy it was to work with Best, stating, “It is always easy to work with people who are curious about what you are curious about and share a common interest.” Additionally, Best remarked that compared to her past articles, her academic level and student perception of online learning article was an extension of her work, but also greatly differed from her previous articles.
“This particular article focused on a specific topic that was of interest to me as we prepare to develop quality undergraduate online programs,” said Best.
In regard to continuing her research on online learning, Best mentioned that another article is potentially in the works. “As my knowledge in designing quality online courses increases, I want to continue with my research agenda. The research process allows us to share our specific knowledge that ultimately shape best practices. I believe it is important to set high standards, engage in professional conversations and publish research in this particular area related to assessment in online programs,” said Best.
In addition to her publication achievements, Best has also recently been nominated by her peers at the national level for the 2015 Hall of Excellence for Quality Matters Master Reviewers.
Quality Matters is a nationally recognized program that focuses on faculty-centered peer review processes that are designed to promote the process leading to certification of online courses.
Best serves as a QM Certified Master Reviewer and works with other distinguished QM members from various universities and colleges in the nation.
In response to her recent Hall of Excellence for Quality Matters Master Reviewers nomination, Best remarked, “It is very rewarding to work with peers who have a similar interest and who are willing to assist with feedback that enhances and improves the online course. I am excited that my name, along with EU, will be recognized on the QM Hall of Excellence.”
For more information about Best’s recent achievements, visit edinboro.edu, or to view the “Does Academic Level Affect Student Perceptions of Threaded Discussions in Online Learning” article, visit ijsre.com/currentissue. html.
Macala Leigey is a Staff Writer for The Spectator.