Category Archives: articles

Of Gamification and Game-Based Learning – a Refresher

Refining terms – we ask it of our students, and of ourselves so that we can be succinct in our understanding of a given topic.  Well, what of Gamification and Game-Based Learning?  Do we have a clear understanding of the concepts? Check out this article from the folks at eLearning Industry (elearning blog).  It provides some clear and basic definitions.

The Differences Between Gamification And Game-Based Learning gamification-vs-game-based-learning-two-different-things

Students Taking Online Courses Graduate at 50% Higher Rates

In this morning’s edition of “The More You Know” we explore Tri-C’s data behind success rates for students who take online courses.

Did you know that students who take online courses have a 50% higher graduation rate?

This data was taken from the three-year graduation data of Tri-C students who started in years 2010, 2011, and 2012 through our Office of Evidence and Inquiry.  And yes – that was 50% higher!

What about students who take online courses only?

You would think there’s a gap, right?  You would be right!  Interestingly there is a .6 point difference between students who take online only courses and all students – .6 points lower for students who take online only.  But for non-IPEDs students (that is students who are not first-time, full-time students,) students who take online only courses actually are UP .6 points in graduation rates.

So what does all of this mean?

We can’t say it’s causational – the mere taking of online courses or online only programs doesn’t mean you will learn better in order to graduate sooner and in greater percentages.  It could be that students who take online courses take them because they need them, because they otherwise would not be able to complete their degrees.

Non-traditional and post-traditional students often can’t make it to campus.  Access was one of the core reasons for expanding online education back in the 1990s, and indeed the entire history of distance education demonstrates this access mission.  Correspondence courses and radio and televised courses enabled students who otherwise would not have access to higher education the ability to gain credentials and improve their lives and the lives of their families.

So how can we improve graduation rates, gain and support more post-traditional students, and improve access (and equity) in alignment with our mission?  Do online better of course!

Happy to share the raw data!  #TheMoreYouKnow #MissionDriven


Interested in learning more about the history of distance education?  Check out this great interactive timeline one of my students created for the course I teach at Kent State University – “The Guide to Everything eLearning for the Higher Education Administrator.”

If you want to get your eLearning geek on and explore the perceptual differences between distance education, eLearning, online learning and the corresponding craze of spellings, check out this examination from the journal The Internet and Higher Education.

Special Issue of American Journal of Distance Education focused on Quality Matters

Check out the great articles on the research behind QM!

Great article The Impact of Findability on on  Student Motivation, Self-Efficacy, and Perceptions of Online Course Quality! 


“Findability” is a component of “usability,” whereby students can find essential course components.  Results included that courses with low findability reported lower levels of self-efficacy and motivation.

Interested in learning more about how you can get more involved with Quality Matters at Tri-C and improve findability in your course?  Contact


Over 70% of CAOs Say Online Learning is Critical to Their Long-Term Strategy

The new Babson Study – Tracking Online Education in the United States, indicates that over 70% of Chief Academic Officers say online learning is critical to their long-term strategy.  Even more, 74.1%, rated learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to face-to-face courses.

Online is still growing at a much greater rate than face-to-face college enrollments.  There was a 3.7% increase in the number of distance education students, which accounts for almost 75% of all enrollment growth in higher education in the US.  That includes in the average a 7.9% decrease in online enrollments at for profit colleges.  At public colleges, the percentage of growth is even higher – 4.6%.

What concerns remain?  Only 28% of academic leaders believe that their faculty accept the “value and legitimacy” of online education.

Retention and success metrics remain a persistent challenge, though many studies including the US DOE’s own research, has concluded that online courses are as effective as face-to-face courses.  Community College students face specific challenges in online courses, with retention rates lower across the board.

Tri-C students who take one or more online course graduate in greater percentages than those who do not, a trend that has been widening over the past few years.

Find the full Babson report here:

Find the accompanying infographic here:

eLi Tech Fest – Come One, Come All

techfest logoOur first ever eLi TechFest “opens” today at 1:30 PM at the Metro Room on Metro Campus.  Come join us for some edu-tainment!

Can’t make this one?  We’ve got three others upcoming!  Check out the info below, and register in Insight.

Metro Campus, MCC 209 – Monday, February 17 @ 1:30 – 2:30PM
·West Campus G 4A – Wednesday, February 19 @ 1:30 – 2:30PM
·CCW 27 – Tuesday, February 25 @ 1:30 – 2:30PM
·East Campus ELA 230 – Wednsday, February 26 @1:30 – 2:30PM

Happy Birthday Text Messaging!

Birthday cupcakeGuess who’s still UNDER 21?  Text messaging!  Invented 20 years ago, when Neil Papworth sent the first SMS message, texting is now “the most popular form of contact.”  Though this statement causes certain demographic groups to cringe, texting is now a ubiquitous part of contemporary lexicon, causing even the most reluctant to occasionally type “LOL”, even if it is in the text of an email and not an SMS.

Couple fun news articles related:

Texting the Most Popular Form of Contact

Top 20 SMS Facts

There are also plenty of other blog posts you can find online.  Many of them adopt a humorous tone and slightly less than orthodox tone, so surfers beware!




NDLWeek – Highlighting Our Partners!

Get in on the game!

electronic gameJoin our Virtual Scavenger Hunt!  Students can win one of three $25 Tri-C gift cards!  Submit your completed scavenger hunt to:

Want to find out more of what’s going on with distance learning in other great Northeast Ohio organizations?  Check out our partner links on our NDLWeek 2012 page!

Find out what they’re doing online, and get involved!

  • The Cleveland Museum of Art
  • The Western Reserve Historical Society
  • WVIZ/PBS ideastream
  • Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
  • Cleveland Museum of Natural History


Has a hero been bumped from your list with one too many movie reboots?

Consider Jane McGonigal as a replacement!

Jane McGonigalThis innovative heroine champions the use of gaming to actually IMPROVE the real world!  Think of her as the cheerleader who will save the world!  (That works on multiple levels – think back to the now defunct TV show Heroes.)

I’ve posted her TED talk, and just began reading her new book – “Reality is Broken:  Why games make us better and how they can change the world.”

Favorite quotes so far from the book include:

“Games make us happy because they are hard work that we choose for ourselves, and it turns out that almost nothing makes us happier than good, hard work.”

There’s a whole bunch of actual research to back this up.  But blog entries aren’t exactly known for their ability to cite research and do a thorough literature review, so definitely check out her book for that.

“…extreme emotional activation is the primary reason why today’s most successful computer and video games are so addictive and mood-boosting.  When we’re in a concentrated state of optimistic engagement, it suddenly becomes biologically more possible for us to think positive thoughts, to make social connections, and to build personal strengths.  We are actively conditioning our minds and bodies to be happier.”

I was with Pat Stansberry  (shout out to faculty extraordinaire at Metro Campus, who shared her interview on Steven Colbert with me,) watching her talk about gaming when her book was mentioned, popped on my Cuyahoga County Public Library App on my iPad, found her book as an ePUB, downloaded it and started reading it.  If I think about conceptually what those activities would have entailed when I was in college back in the day, it would have taken me at least a couple of hours to accomplish the same thing…

So check out her work!  And maybe get a fresh new hero while you’re at it!

Let the games begin:) – Sasha