Three ISU professors receive AECT Best Journal Article Award

Morgan Ball

Three members of the ISU Center for Technology in Learning and Teaching received the Association for Educational Communications and Technology Division of Distance Learning Best Journal Article Award.

The award goes to recipients who have published a journal article within the past three years.

Ann Thompson, an ISU professor in the College of Education; Evrim Baran, an assistant professor in educational sciences currently working at Middle East Technical University in Turkey; and Ana-Paula Correia, an associate professor in the department of curriculum and instruction with the ISU human-computer interaction program, are the three authors of the journal article and recipients of the 2013 award.

Thompson said the award is qualitative-based.

“The award reads, ‘An outstanding article published in the last three years that describes best research on an important aspect of distance education,'” Thompson said.

Baran, who is also an ISU alumna, said her and the other members are appreciative of the award.

“We are honored that our article is recognized as outstanding by one of the oldest educational technology organizations in the world,” Baran said via email.

The article was titled “Tracing Successful Online Training in Higher Education: Voices of Exemplary Online Teachers.” The background of the article was based on the role that teachers have in online environments. It also explains how to expand productive teaching methods to online classes.

There has been a dramatic change in the way online classes are designed and taught, but there are many courses that remain the same. The article compares those who have made the switch to those who have not.

“Using the vehicle of multiple-case studies, the research allowed for an in-depth look at different exemplary online teachers’ cases,” Baran said. “As a result, we gained a better understanding of the reasons for their success. The paper presents important recommendations for higher education institutions to support successful online teaching.”

The purpose of the research was to focus on the teachers who are successful with online courses and compare what they are doing with the ones who are not as successful.

The research was conducted by looking at six different courses online. Looking at a variety of teachers at Iowa State University helped to compare and contrast the differences between their methods.

“The article is based upon in-depth interviews with ISU professors who were identified as exemplary online teachers and provides insights into their success in online environments,” Thompson said.

Thompson, Baran and Correia realized in their conclusions that it was important to hear the teacher’s voices during the interaction of online classes. They also drew conclusions based on the fact that the teachers who were successful changed their methods of teaching from a classroom setting to a virtual setting.

“We believe that the recommendations that came out of our article would contribute to the improvement of online teaching and learning practices,” Baran said.

Online programs need to prepare their teaching staff to evaluate their teaching styles. This evaluation would look at how instructors have been teaching their online classes and the comparison to what they could be doing.

Improvement with the interaction between educators and their students who are in an online classroom is the overall goal.

“The award would help the dissemination of the findings of our research, and we are thus motivated to further carry out our research on online learning and teaching in different contexts,” Baran said.