Creating Online Content With Real World Application By Designing And Implementing Online Practicums For Virtual And Physical Environments
Contemporary Issues in Education Research (CIER)
Universities need to assess student learning in order to determine if they are reaching the needs of the students, linking learning to course objectives, and determining if their courses have academic rigor. While many courses focus on the immediate course learning objectives, the use of final program projects and program assessments are becoming a key focus point for administrators, accreditors, instructors, and the business community. What do these final assessments tell them or not tell
... em or not tell them? What are they searching for in order to satisfy their research and daily needs and questions? In particular, what key program assessments can be useful for these academics, as well as for the students who select to do certain elected assessments? The purpose of this paper is to focus on the use of online practicum, which serves an alternative to a masters thesis or graduate comprehensive examination. While some students may elect to focus on their research skills or opt for the comprehensive examination, other online students tend to seek other means to have their skills assess and try another area of application. The third option for these graduate students is an online practicum, which is in a form of blended learning. The student chooses a particular industry to explore and work in, as well as creating a learning experience between him or her and a potential employer to apply their current content knowledge to a real world experience. This experience is in the form of a prescribed learning experience that is based on online learning, combined with the students current skills and content knowledge, and then applied to a real world environment for implementation of their newly created learning contract. This paper will examine the process from the creation of the learning contract to the implementation of the learning experience in this blended learning project. The key emphasis of this paper will be how the online instructor helps to facilitate the learning from a virtual platform, while the student moves into the next level of actual application of his or her skills in a physical working environment and will interact with the virtual instructor through a variety of learning medias as he or she works between these two types of environment towards achieving a set number of hours on the final learning experience, as well as preparing an academic-based, research paper to overview and evaluate the sum of the total learning gained from the practicum.