Distance online education has already proven to be a viable alternative to traditional education. However, the task of raising informationally competent and easily adapting to a new learning environment specialist is still far from completion. The purpose of this work is to create a method that allows in the first days of the semester to predict the students’ difficulties that may arise during their further learning in an online course. This method is based on the idea that each of five basic components of education - administrative, academic, technological, communicative, and personal - can be a “risk area” resulting in the student’s low academic performance and failure.
In our study, a computer-based survey was conducted with 108 graduate students enrolled in the author’s online courses. Students read a brochure which include a description of situations typical of online education and corresponding correct (leading to success) behavioral strategies in dealing with these situations and then answered questions which have tested their knowledge of the brochure’s content. The study results allow to identify: a) students at risk of failure, b) their areas of risk, c) causes of being at risk. The final product of the study is a set of recommendations on the use of the developed method and the rules for interpreting the respondents' answers to the questionnaire. The possibility of aforehand identifying online students at risk allows us to organize the supportive training for them. Development of strategies and methodology for such a training will be our future task.
Anna Toom, Touro College & University System, United States