Yesterday CANeLearn highlighted the release of Ontario Student Trustees’ Association/Association des Élèves Conseillers/ères de l’Ontario (OSTA-AECO) report on their elearning survey results and key findings, as well as focusing on the 11 recommendations that the organization made in terms of improving e-learning in Ontario (and across Canada) so that all students can have success. One of the interesting aspects of the OSTA/AECO report is the data that is presented, and how it is presented.

For example, the authors of the report indicated data such as:

  • 1 in 4 respondents said they had a hard time contacting their elearning teachers
  • 35.2 % of respondents who have taken elearning reported experiencing moderate to severe challenges with utilizing the elearning software
  • 3 in 10 respondents had difficulty understanding their elearning course lessons (p. 5)

However, if you consider this data in the reverse, you get the following:

  • 3 in 4 respondents said they did not have a difficult time contacting their elearning teachers
  • 64.8 % of respondents who have taken elearning did not report experiencing challenges with utilizing the elearning software
  • 7 in 10 respondents had no problem understanding their elearning course lessons

This is not to suggest that this data is good or acceptable for any learning context. But it does put a very different perspective on the data than the way it is presented in the OSTA/AECO report. These data do raise some issues:

  1. If the OSTA/AECO were to survey students about their classroom learning, what would the data show? For example, would 30% of the students still suggest that they have difficulty understanding the lesson in their face-to-face classroom.
  2. The fact that these numbers are all in the two thirds to three quarters range, it does provide support for the recommendations that are made at the end of the report. For example, the fact that 25% of the students had difficulty contacting their e-learning teachers does support the recommendation for “OFFICE HOURS: That elearning teachers establish “office hours” to notify students of their availability to answer questions and return course assessments.” (p. 21)

So CANeLearn does suggest that as you review this report, to read it from a positive perspective when examining the data (as opposed to the negative minority), and also looking at how the data supports specific recommendations that are made at the end of the report.