A Case study of an Entrepreneurial student
As a method to evaluate the effectiveness of my online practicum course Entrepreneurship, I examined one student’s progress for the first 10 weeks of class. This case study examines the students participation, interaction with both the teacher and other students, level and demonstration of critical thinking skills, familiarity with content , time spent online and level of academic success.
For the purposes of this evaluation, I will refer to the student as Tom.
One of the first characteristics that drew me to this student was his level of participation. It was evident very early on, that Tom was a motivated learner. He began the first weeks of class by actively participating early each week, something that was encouraged by the instructor but only demonstrated by a few students. Tom was often the first to post in discussion threads and always took the leadership role in the group work. His work ethic continued throughout the course as he continued to login early in the week to complete reading assignments, discussion posts, group work, weekly exercises and required journal entries.
Mid-way through the course Tom remained motivated, was visually active in all course areas, and continued to demonstrate great time management skills. Scores were high in all areas and almost all work was completed on-time. The system login history shows Tom had logged in 43 times in 30 days indicating multiple logins per day in some instances.
On one occasion, work was 1 day late due to inactivity from his partner on a group project. Illustrated in the artifact above. Repeated attempts to obtain answers from Tom’s partner, resulted in a request for help from the instructor. This Illustrated a high degree of ownership for the task that needed to be completed and self-directed learning. The private discussion thread with the instructor explained the situation and requested help early on the last day of class, was updated after 8PM and also contained a follow-up notification from Tom @ 6AM. I included this artifact above because it clearly illustrates the students commitment to his learning and comfort level in communicating with the instructor.
There appeared to be no problems with the technology needed for the course content and for course navigation. An exercise using MS excel was executed without help from the instructor. Many of Tom’s peers struggled with this assignment which may have been due to a lack of understanding of the software program. Tom completed the work on time using the system drop box.
Reflections & other weekly exercise were completed well in advance of the deadlines. These reflections displayed strong content knowledge as well as a deeper understanding of the concepts, illustrated above in his thoughts on his own business .
Week 7 Tom was very involved in an active discussion , adding valuable information in his original post as well as helpful feedback to other posts Clearly demonstrating critical thinking skills, interactivity with peers and maturity for this age group.
Tom’s commitment to his learning and strong work ethic is demonstrated though his overall quality of work which is also evident in his high grades in the course. I reviewed login data to determine the possibility of a correlation between time online and student grades. There was clearly a correlation of these 2 elements for students with poor grades and significantly less time online. However, there was less of a correlation for those students that excelled in the class. Based on the number of times logged in , higher ranked students ranged from mid 100 to 500 total logins for the course. This data lead me to believe that there is a very strong argument for achievement in an online environment being attributed to the readiness of the learner. The need to master time management skills , overall preparedness and organization, along with the degree to which the students are self-directed learners is critical to their success in an e-learning environment.