Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Is your online course interactive?

What do we mean by ‘interactive’ anyway? Well, in the past I have used Ellen Wagner’s definition from her 1994 work (In support of a functional definition of interaction. The American Journal of Distance Education, 8(2), 6-26.) which defines interaction as “reciprocal events that require at least two objects and two actions. Interactions occur when these objects and events mutually influence one another” (I first mentioned this definition on this blog in Feb 2005).

I recently came across an old (read: year 2000) paper which had a rubric for assessing the level of interactivity in an online course by Rablyer and Erkhaml at the State University of West Georgia: How Interactive are YOUR Distance Courses? A Rubric for Assessing Interaction in Distance Learning.

With a quick Google search I discovered that the authors updated this rubric four years later in an article published to the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks.

Have a look at the newer rubric in this paper. I think it is pretty good. It focuses on five major elements that contribute to interactivity:
  1. Social and Rapport-building designs

  2. Interactivity in the Instructional Design of the course

  3. Interactivity with the Technology Resources

  4. Evidence of Learner Engagement

  5. Evidence of Instructor Engagement

I took the opportunity to run a recent course that I designed through the rubric and noted that this course scored approximately 18 out of a maximum 25 points. A score of 18 just barely places this course into the “High Interactive Qualities” category (range of 18-25). This rubric also helped me see where there is ‘room for improvement’ in the interactivity in this course. Run your course through this rubric to see where it lands. Let me know if you find this rubric useful and/or if you know of any other rubrics that assess interactivity in a distance course.


Anonymous said...

Hi Eric,
This one very useful because I always want to find out how to quantify interactivity of my e-learning course. By the way, I have been reading your blog and I have found some interesting and useful things to try out. Keep up your good work!


Eric said...

Hi Karim,

Thanks for the positive comments! I appreciate it.


Anonymous said...

hi eric i would like to thank you for your effort and excellent information
actually I'm doing my phD about interaction and e-learning
and if you don't mind i will send you an email to discuss it further

Eric said...

No problem Enas. I hope to hear from you soon.

Take care.