You are on page 1of 17

Memo

Date: November 30, 2015


To: Dr. Crenshaw, Ph. D.
From: Teisha Nelson
Subject: Recommendation Report for Adding In-class Computer Information
Systems 1200 classes for Older Students Attending or Returning to
School

Attached is the report for my study, “Adding In-class Computer Information Systems
1200 classes for Older Students Attending or Returning to School at Dixie State
University (DSU): A Recommendation Report.” I completed the tasks described in
my proposal of November 13, 2015: interviewing some of the older students in the
Computer Information Systems (CIS 1200) course, finding secondary articles on
online classes and in-class settings, and finding secondary articles on Computer
Literacy Classes.

To perform these tasks, I performed primary and secondary research. I interviewed


older students currently in the CIS 1200 class to find out if they feel they would have
been more successful in a classroom setting of the course and what made the course
challenging for them. I also researched secondary sources on online classes and in-
class settings and what makes in-class settings more successful for students over
the online class settings. Lastly, I found secondary articles on Computer Literacy
Classes and what needs to be done to make them more successful along with what
the purpose of the course should be.

My findings suggest that older students would prefer to have an option when it
comes to taking the CIS 1200 course online or in the classroom. The majority
thought having a classroom setting would help them to be more successful in the
course and gain more knowledge from the course. They feel they would have more
on-hand help if they were in the classroom and would not have to spend so much
time on their own trying to learn the concepts. In my research of online classes and
in-class settings, I found that students tend to be more successful in in-class settings
over online settings. I also found that Computer Literacy Classes tend to be based off
the thinking that the students should already know the basics of the course.
However, with older students that have never used a computer or had access to a
computer, they don’t have prior knowledge of the basics of computers.

Based off the interviews and research done on this issue, I recommend that DSU
offer the CIS 1200 course in classroom settings for older students so they can learn
the required material easier, receive the extra help, and be successful.

I appreciate the trust you have shown in letting me perform further research on this
topic. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Teisha Nelson at
teishan@gmail.com or at (435) 668-9429.
Adding In-class Computer Information Systems 1200
classes for Older Students Attending or Returning to
School at Dixie State University (DSU):
A Recommendation Report

Prepared for: Dr. Crenshaw, Ph. D.

Prepared by: Teisha Nelson

November 30, 2015


Abstract

“Adding In-class Computer Information Systems 1200


classes for Older Students Attending or Returning to
School at Dixie State University (DSU):
A Recommendation Report”

Prepared by: Teisha Nelson

On November 9, 2015, Dr. Crenshaw, Professor of English at Dixie State University


(DSU), gave me permission to research out how adding in-class versions of the
Computer Information Systems 1200 (CIS 1200) class would be helpful and
beneficial for older students returning to school or attending for the first time along
with comparing online classes to in-classes and which environment people are more
successful in. To perform this research, I first interviewed a few of the older
students in the course to see what their thoughts were on adding in-class versions of
the course. I found that most of the students agreed that they would have definitely
been more successful in the course and would have learned more if they had had an
option of taking the course in a classroom setting with an instructor. I also
researched out secondary sources on whether in-class settings are more successful
and better learning formats than online class settings. Lastly, I researched what the
purpose of CIS 1200 classes should be and how to make them successful. I
recommend that there be added in-class versions of the CIS 1200 classes for older
students who have had no prior knowledge of computers and do better being taught
in visual settings over oral settings. These settings would provide more help for
students and would help them to more easily learn the concept they are required to
know and would therefore, be able to more easily prepare and be successful on the
tests.

Keywords: CIS 1200, Computer Information Systems, in-class, online, older students,
classroom, settings

ii
Table of Contents

Executive Summary ...................................................................................................... 1

Introduction .................................................................................................................... 2

Research Methods ........................................................................................................ 4

Task 1. Interview some of the older students in the CIS 1200 Course .................... 4

Task 2. Secondary articles on online classes and in-class settings ......................... 4

Task 3. Secondary articles on Computer Literacy Classes ....................................... 5

Results............................................................................................................................... 6

Task 1. Interview some of the older students in the CIS 1200 Course .................... 6

Task 2. Secondary articles on online classes and in-class settings ......................... 7

Task 3. Secondary articles on Computer Literacy Classes ....................................... 9

Conclusions.................................................................................................................... 10

Student Attitudes .................................................................................................. 10

My Attitude ........................................................................................................... 10

Recommendation ........................................................................................................ 11

References ..................................................................................................................... 12

Appendix A: CIS 1200 Interview Questions ......................................................... 13

iii
1

Executive Summary

On November 9, 2015, Dr. Crenshaw, Professor of English at Dixie State University


(DSU), gave me permission to research out how adding in-class versions of the
Computer Information Systems 1200 (CIS 1200) class would be helpful and
beneficial for older students returning to school or attending school for the first
time. I have also researched out secondary sources on whether in-class courses are
more beneficial or successful than online classes. Lastly, I have included research on
what the purpose of CIS 1200 courses should be and how to make them more
successful for older students.

Currently at DSU, the CIS 1200 class is only offered online to students. This makes
learning and understanding computer concepts challenging for older students who
are either returning to school or going to school for the first time. Students who
have never used a computer or worked in certain programs are expected to already
know the basics and be able to learn material through online formats. Many of the
older students did not have computers when they were in school and have
therefore, never used a computer or programs on a computer. This makes an online
class very challenging for a student who has never had prior computer experience.
Most of the students are also working in programs they are unfamiliar in including
Microsoft Office Products.

Dr. Crenshaw has asked me to find credible sources for whether the CIS 1200
Course would be beneficial if offered in classroom settings. The research that Dr.
Crenshaw asked me to perform will be part of this study. I will present my findings
and recommendations.

To perform this research, I have interviewed older students in the CIS 1200 course
to get their opinion on whether an in-class setting would have been more beneficial
for them. I also found secondary articles on in-class settings over online classes and
whether in-class settings are more successful than online classes. I have also found
secondary sources discussing what the purpose of the CIS 1200 course should be.

I found that of the older students I interviewed in the CIS 1200 course, the majority
thought that having an in-class version of the class would have been much more
helpful and beneficial to them. They felt that they would have learned more and
been able to get more one-on-one help in a classroom setting. In my research of in-
class settings over online settings, I found that more students succeed in classroom
settings over online settings. In my research on the purpose of the CIS 1200 course, I
found that the point of the class is to make sure that the class stays similar in an
online setting as it would in an in-class setting. It is important for instructors to have
their lesson plans easily organized for students in both settings.
On the basis of these conclusions, I recommend that DSU offer in-class settings of
the CIS 1200 course on campus for older students that do not have as much
computer knowledge as other students would have.
2

Introduction

On November 9, 2015, Dr. Crenshaw, Professor of English at Dixie State University


(DSU), gave me permission to do research on offering in-class options of the
Computer Information Systems 1200 (CIS 1200) course for older students returning
to school or attending school for the first time so that they can be more successful at
learning the basic concepts of computer programs and be able to get the extra help
they need.

Currently, DSU only offers the CIS 1200 course online. Older students who take this
course are forced into an online version and are usually not familiar with
computers, especially Microsoft Office Products and other basic programs. This
makes understanding these concepts challenging for these students and they tend to
get frustrated easily. They usually depend on a lab assistant or faculty member to sit
with them and assist them with their assignments. This makes it hard for older
students when it comes to test time. They struggle to understand and remember the
concepts when they take their test.

Specifically, Dr. Crenshaw asked me to perform research that would be related to


one of the following topics;

1. Work-related topic examples

2. University-related topics

3. Future career topics

Dr. Crenshaw explained that researching out one of these topics is important so that
I can gain a better understanding on how to properly write up a recommendation
report and also how to find a problem in our related areas of study or occupation.
Dr. Crenshaw also explained the importance of finding a topic that is easily
researchable and is a well-known issue affecting our schooling or work.

For these reasons, Dr. Crenshaw asked me to present my findings and recommend
why the CIS 1200 class should be offered in classroom settings. Along with that
topic, Dr. Crenshaw also asked me to research out if in-class settings are better than
online classes and why. Lastly, Dr. Crenshaw asked me to look at what the purpose
of the CIS 1200 class should be and how to make it more successful.

First, I interviewed some of the older students that I have helped with the CIS 1200
course and asked their opinion on whether they think the course should be offered
in classroom settings. Next, I found secondary articles on in-class settings and online
settings and found out if one is more successful than the other and why. Finally, I
looked at secondary articles on Computer Literacy courses to learn what things
3

should be taught in the CIS 1200 courses and what the purpose of the class should
be about.

I wish to thank the CIS students who were willing to let me interview them on their
opinion of the class and whether they think it should be offered in classroom
settings and why. I also would like to thank Dr. Crenshaw for letting me spend the
time to further research out this topic.

I found that older students in the CIS 1200 class would definitely be open to having
an option of taking the CIS 1200 course in a class setting and would have found a
classroom setting easier for them to learn the concepts and take more from the
course. They feel that they would have been able to get more one-on-one help in a
classroom setting and would have liked to have had an instructor at the front of the
class actually discussing the concepts and showing them how to do the concepts
discussed in the course. They felt this would have better prepared them for their
tests and helped them to actually understand how the different concepts can be
helpful and used in the real world.

The information I found on online and in-class settings showed that in-class settings
of a course have less drop out rates along with less students failing the course
compared to those in online courses. I also found that more students in in-class
settings tend to actually gain more from the class and grasp the concepts better than
those in an online course.

The information that I gathered on CIS 1200 courses was that they should be
available in both in-class settings and in online settings. Students in the online
courses tend to get a lower overall grade in the course than those who are in a
classroom setting. One thing that has to be taken into account with this particular
course is that all students have different ways of learning. Some do well in online
and some do well in in-class settings. Overall though, students should be able to
choose whether they take in-class courses or online courses. Both options should be
readily available for all students.

On the basis of these findings, I recommend that DSU offer the CIS 1200 course in a
classroom setting for older students. Most older students were not raised with
computers in their generation and have therefore, not had as much experience with
computers as those in the younger generations have. Older students tend to be more
successful with computer concepts when they are able to physically watch someone
go through the processes step by step. It is important that instructors find the
easiest way for that particular student to learn that concept and understand it fully.

In the following sections, I have provided additional details about my research


methods along with the results I obtained, and the conclusions I drew from to get
my results, and my recommendations.
4

Research Methods

To acquire the information requested by Dr. Crenshaw, I broke my project into three
tasks:

1. Interview some of the older students in the CIS 1200 Course


2. Research Secondary articles on online classes and in-class settings
3. Research Secondary articles on Computer Literacy Classes

In the following discussion of how I performed each task, I will explain the
reasoning that guided my research.

Task 1. Interview some of the older students in the CIS 1200 Course
Dr. Crenshaw told us to get sources that would help in our research and not
hinder our research. The sources needed to be helpful and professional. She
recommended the following:
 Primary sources-could include interviews or surveys
 Secondary sources-sources pulled from the DSU Library Database or from
credible web sites

As I thought of what the best way to go about getting good sources for my
research paper, I knew that interviewing older students in the CIS 1200
course would be worthwhile. I had helped these students on several
occasions with their CIS 1200 homework, and I knew they would be honest
and helpful in giving me feedback on their experiences in the on-line course. I
knew they could tell me what could be improved or done differently to help
them be successful in this course.

I created CIS 1200 Interview Questions (see Appendix A, on page 13) for the
older students in the CIS 1200 on-line course to get their feedback on what
their opinion was of an in-class setting of the CIS 1200 course.

Out of the four older students that I interviewed, only one student felt that
having an in-class setting would have slowed them down. However, from the
start, they would have probably signed up for an in-class setting had the
option been available.

Task 2. Research secondary articles on online classes and in-class settings


In performing Task 2, I took Dr. Crenshaw’s advice and found articles on the
library database and some credible ones on the web that talked about studies
done and information gathered about students who were more successful in
in-class courses over online courses and why this was the case.

I decided that researching out sources on online classes and in-class settings
would help solidify why it would be beneficial to offer the CIS 1200 course in
5

classroom settings. Colleges and Universities want students to graduate and


succeed in careers and life. Therefore, making classes accessible for all
students is important in the success of the students going on to graduate.

Several of my sources discussed how in-class settings are more successful for
the most part than online courses. In a study done at California State
University, researchers looked at the learning effectiveness of students in six
courses, some online and some in-class on the same subject and taught by the
same professor. In the end, it was found that more students failed the online
courses than they did the in-class courses (Ni, 204). Some conclusions I found
from my research is that students in in-class settings tend to learn more and
comprehend more of the concepts that are taught in the course. In-class
students are also better at remembering the information learned for longer
periods of time than those students in the online courses.

Task 3: Research Secondary articles on Computer Literacy Classes


In performing Task 3, I sought to research what the purpose of the CIS 1200
class should be about and how to make it successful. I knew that
understanding the basis and purpose behind the course would be beneficial
in my research. It would help me understand what changes should happen
with the course in order to make it more successful for students. I also was
able to find surveys and studies that were conducted on students in
Computer Literacy courses to find out what should be implemented and what
things could be improved upon.
6

Results

In this section, I will present the results of my research. For each of the tasks I
carried out, I present the most important data I acquired.

Task 1. Interview some of the older students in the CIS 1200 Course
For part of my research, I decided to interview a few of the older students
that I help in the computer lab. I asked what some of their opinions were of
having the CIS 1200 class offered in a classroom setting and what makes the
course most challenging for them. The first question I asked was if it would
have been better to have had the option to take the class in a classroom
setting over online. Along with that, I asked them to explain their reasoning
for why they think a classroom setting would or would not have been better.
Lastly, I asked them what made the class difficult to be successful in.

The first CIS 1200 student that I interviewed was Susan Dockstader. The
first question I asked her was “whether it would be better to offer this class
in an actual classroom setting?” Her response was, “yes.” The second
question I asked her was “why it would be better in the classroom setting?”
Her response was, “I could watch someone physically go through the steps. I
feel there would be more help offered by the teacher and students could
possibly work together.” The third and final question that I asked her was
“what makes this online class difficult for you to be successful in?” Her
response was, “I do not have the most current Microsoft office at home and
there are a lot of new things added to the 2013 version. There isn’t always
sufficient support from the staff. Some days they are short-handed.”

The second CIS 1200 student that I interviewed was Charles Crawle. He was
asked the same set of questions as the first student was. His response to the
first question on whether it would be better to offer the class in a classroom
setting was, “yes.” His response to the second question on why he felt it
would be better to offer this class in an actual classroom setting was, “It’s
really to hard of a class to do without an on site person to sit down with you
to go over the things you need help with, us older students need even more
help.” His response to the final question on what makes the online class
difficult for you be successful in was, “Not having someone live to take time
to go over the lessons with you.”

The third CIS 1200 student that I interviewed was Teri Greentree. She was
also asked the same questions as the previous two. Her responses however
were very interesting. On the first question asked, she answered by saying
“yes and then no.” On the second question, she replied by saying, “If they had
offered a classroom setting to begin with, I probably would have chosen that
option. However, now that I am mostly done with the class, having a
classroom setting would have slowed me down since with the online option, I
7

am able to go ahead if I want to. Whereas in a class setting, it would have


been harder to go ahead and work at a faster pace if I wanted to.” For the
third question, she said, “the class is very time-consuming.”

The fourth and final CIS 1200 student that I interviewed was Amelia
Davidson. She was also asked the same questions as the other three. Her
answer to the first question, “Would it be better to offer this class in an actual
classroom setting?” was “yes.” Her response to the second question I asked
her, “why,” was, “Because many of the returning older students do not have
computer based knowledge to know how to write college level papers much
less the knowledge skills to allow them to do homework online. They need
more one-on-one assistance.” Her response to the last question asked, “What
makes this online class difficult for you to be successful in?” was, “The reason
most older returning students take this class in the first place is to help them
gain computer and keyboarding skills that they “don’t” currently have to
write college papers and do homework, so why would they already have the
skills to work alone on-line. This class needs to be offered in an in-person
class to teach students basic computer skills to help them through the rest of
college.”

Based off the feedback I received from conducting interviews, for the most
part, all of them agreed that there should be a classroom setting for the CIS
1200 course. Most of them feel that having a classroom setting would have
made the class less stressful and time-consuming for them. In interviewing
and working with the older students in the CIS 1200 class, I have found that
they usually spend a full day working on their homework for the class and
end up needing a faculty member or lab assistant to help them through every
step of their assignment. They tend to become easily frustrated when it
comes to trying to remember and understand the steps that are required of
them. I have had many of them make the comment to me that the CIS 1200
class is their most time-consuming class and the most difficult one for them
to learn and understand the concepts that they are asked to know. The four
students I interviewed for this project were given a questionnaire, which is
presented in Appendix A on page 13.

Task 2: Secondary articles on online classes and in-class settings


For another part of my research, I answered the question: “Are online classes
better or worse than in-class settings?” I found that in an article by Di Xu and
Shanna S. Jaggars, they talk about how many faculty members expect their
students to already have prior knowledge of the concepts discussed in the
online course (635). It goes on to say “studies have found that students in
online courses experience higher levels of dissatisfaction, interpersonal
isolation, feelings of unclear direction and uncertainty, and a lack of
engagement in the learning process” (635). With this knowledge, it definitely
8

helps us to see that sometimes online courses are not the most successful
learning environments for students.

In another article I found entitled, “Comparing the Effectiveness of Classroom


and Online Learning: Teaching Research Methods,” a study was done on a
particular class taught by the same instructor. However, the class is offered
in online or classroom form but continually taught by the same instructor. In
the study it was found that, “ten percent of students failed in online classes,
whereas only 4% did in classroom sessions among the six classes under
study” (Ni 206). The study went on to talk about how, “Students who failed
the class were often those who discontinued their study. This result is in
agreement with findings from previous research results that the online
classroom experiences a higher dropout rate as compared to face-to-face
classroom” (Ni 206).

In the article, “Comparing the Effectiveness of Classroom and Online


Learning: Teaching Research Methods,” a survey was given to students in a
class. The following was accessed:
“The survey asked the students to assess the effectiveness of the class
in achieving the objectives on a scale of 1 (poor), 2 (fair), 3 (good), 4
(very good), and 5 (excellent) and then rank the importance of these
objectives on a scale of 1 (very unimportant), 2 (unimportant), 3
(neither important nor unimportant), 4 (important), and 5 (very
important). The result is presented in Table 7” (Ni).
In the end, all of the students in the classroom setting felt the learning
experience was successful whereas, the online students only had 87% that
found the learning experience successful.
9

Ni, Anna Y. “Comparing the Effectiveness of Classroom and Online Learning:


Teaching Research Methods.” Journal of Public Affairs Education 19.2 (n.d.):
199-215. Web. 31 Oct. 2015.

Task 3: Secondary articles on Computer Literacy Classes


The last part of my research involved answering the question, “How to make
Computer Literacy Classes or the CIS 1200 course successful and what the
purpose of them should be?” In my research, I came across an article entitled,
“Student Performance Online Vs. Onground: A Statistical Analysis of IS
Courses.” The article mainly focuses on some of the things that should be
found in the Computer Literacy online course. The article goes on to say, “The
same elements should be contained in a well planned traditional course”
(Ury 3). I found it interesting that right off, the article talks about making the
course successful not only online but also in a classroom. What one person is
able to do online, another might need in a classroom setting. It is important
to give students both options for a Computer Literacy Class, especially for
older students who are not familiar with online courses.

One important thing that can be done to make the CIS class more successful
is to make sure the class is formed on the basis of being successful in both
classroom and online. In the article entitled, “Student Performance Online Vs.
Onground: A Statistical Analysis of IS Courses,” Gary Ury talks about how the
course needs to be made for both in-class and online courses. It goes on to
say, “All materials including PowerPoint slides, recorded lectures, narrated
online demonstrations, worksheets, and examples are available to both
online and onground students” (3). Students need to be able to have an in-
class course be similar in structure to an online course.
10

Conclusions

In this section, I present my conclusion based on my research related to the


topic I chose to research.

Student attitudes

Out of the 4 older students that I interviewed, 3 of them believed that they
would have been more successful and learned more if they would have had
the option to take the CIS 1200 course in a classroom setting over the online
version. For now, the only option students at DSU have when they need to
take the CIS 1200 course is to take it online.

My attitude

Working one on one with older students in the CIS 1200 course has helped
me to see that this course could definitely be a good course to consider
adding in-class settings for future students. It would help them to better
understand concepts taught and to gain more from the skills they learn in the
course.

Online and in-class settings have their pros and cons and should definitely be
considered and weighed when considering how to offer classes for students.
Students of all ages need to be considered when weighing the options of only
offering courses online. Online courses also need to have extra attention
given to them when laying them out for students. They need to be
knowledgeable and helpful in helping the student to be able to find the
information or help that they need. Giving visual aids and clearer directions
are definitely good areas to start when forming an online course.

CIS 1200 courses are meant to help college students learn basic computer
skills and learn proficiency in Microsoft Office Products. It is important that
clear directions and adequate help are considered in this course.
Unfortunately, many professors over these courses assume that the students
already know most of the information that is taught in the course. This way
of thinking makes this class especially challenging for students who have not
had any prior experience or knowledge working with computers. Students
should be able to succeed in school, not fail. There needs to be options for
students who are not comfortable in online classes.
11

Recommendation

I recommend that DSU further search out the benefits of offering in-class settings of
the CIS 1200 class for older students. This way, they are learning the computer skills
that they will need to be successful in their other classes. The CIS 1200 class can be
very beneficial if older students are able to walk away learning skills that they
would not have figured out on their own. However, some of the time, older students
walk away being confused about certain concepts taught in the course and
therefore, do not fully understand the benefits of knowing certain aspects of
Microsoft Office Products. This in turn, leads older students wondering why they
had to take the CIS 1200 class and feel that they wasted a semester and money on a
class that they unfortunately were not able to take anything from. It is important for
students to be able to take concepts and knowledge learned from class and use it in
their everyday life.
12

Works Cited

Crawle, Charles. Personal interview. 30 Oct. 2015.

Davidson, Amelia. Personal interview. 2 Nov. 2015.

Dockstader, Susan. Personal interview. 28 Oct. 2015

Greentree, Teri. Personal interview. 30 Oct. 2015

Ni, Anna Y. “Comparing the Effectiveness of Classroom and Online Learning:


Teaching Research Methods.” Journal of Public Affairs Education 19.2 (n.d.):
199-215. Web. 31 Oct. 2015.

Ury, Gary, et al. “Student Performance Online Vs. Onground: A Statistical


Analysis of IS Courses.” Proc ISECON v. 22 (2005): 1-7. Web. 31 Oct. 2015.

Xu, Di, and Shanna S. Jaggars. “Performance Gaps Between Online and Face-
to-Face Courses: Differences Across Types of Students and Academic Subject
Areas.” The Journal of Higher Education Vol. 85(September/October) (2014):
633-659. Web. 31 Oct. 2015.
13

Appendix A: CIS 1200 Interview Questions

These are the interview questions that I asked the older students in the CIS 1200
course.

Questionnaire on Whether Offering In-class Courses for Older Students in


the CIS 1200 course would be helpful

Name:______________________________________________________

1. Would it be better to offer this class in an actual classroom setting?(Yes/No)

2. Why?

3. What makes the online class difficult for you to be successful in?