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Teaching Online in Texts and Technology

About the Author

Delia M. Garcia is a student in the Texts and Technology PhD program at the University of Central Florida and is the Director of CAHSA, the College of Arts and Humanities Student Advising office at UCF. Her research interests include the rhetoric of marginalized populations and access to higher education.

Red Balloon Project

Introduction to the Red Balloon Project from John Hammang on Vimeo.

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is launching its Red Balloon Project. It is focused on helping member institutions re-imagine undergraduate education. AASCU VP George Mehaffy describes the project.



About this guide

Designing a hybrid, transfer student success course

The purpose of this research guide is to assist advising administrators, professional advisors and faculty in developing a hybrid student success course specifically for at-risk transfer students. For the purpose of this project at this particular institution, at-risk students are broadly defined as those who transfer to the University with a 2.25 GPA or below as part of the Associates of Arts (A.A.) degree. Since a disproportionate number of underserved and under-represented minorities enter the State University System (SUS) after completion of an A.A. degree at a Florida College System (FCS) institution, there is a particular need to bolster the success of this particular cohort.

Through research into the hybrid or blended modality and into transfer student success, I have learned two key factors that support the development of this course: 1) that students have better learning outcomes in hybrid courses than in strictly face to face or online courses; and, 2) that transfer students have a need to connect as well as a need for independence or autonomy. Based on my research findings, it does not appear that there are many if any transfer success courses in existence. Though I was unable to locate any data or assessments from existing transfer success courses, there is enough qualitative evidence to suggest that a hybrid transfer success course would be very beneficial particularly for transfer students who are considered academically at-risk.


Blended Learning Toolkit. The University of Central Florida and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, 2011.

         Web. 20 Feb. 2014.

The University of Central Florida (UCF) and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) created this website with funding from Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) grant. The website is an open repository of information, resources, etc. with a stated goal of expanding the use of blended courses among participating AASCU members. Some examples of content include: model courses, effective practices, evaluation resources and faculty development among others. Of specific interest for professionals designing a transfer student success course are the areas that address principles of delivery and design as well as student success strategies.

Dowd, Alicia C., Jenny H. Pak, and Estela Mara Bensimon. "The Role of Institutional Agents in Promoting Transfer Access." Education

      Policy Analysis Archives 21.14/15 (2013): 1-39. Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 20 Feb. 2014.

In this study the authors analyze the role that particular individuals at the institutions studied play in impacting transfer student success. The authors note that many transfer students have lower socio-economic status and have had fewer academic opportunities when compared to first time in college students. The students who participated in the study reported increased levels of confidence, engagement and success as a result of their connection to an institutional agent whom they perceived as an advocate. The purpose of creating this course is to specifically assist at-risk transfer students and this article identifies and addresses the challenges that students in this cohort must overcome. Given the recent push for big data and predictive analytics in higher education, this article affirms the role that human interaction plays in student success.

Graham, Charles R. and Reid Robison. “Realizing the Transformational Potential of Blended Learning: Comparing Cases of

      Transforming Blends and Enhancing Blends in Higher Education.” Blended Learning : Research Perspectives.

      Eds. Picciano, Anthony G. and Charles Dziuban.  Sloan-C, 2007. UCF Libraries Catalog. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

Ten published researchers in the field of online learning each contributed a chapter to this collection. Though the entire content of this book is relevant, chapter 5, “Realizing the Transformational Potential of Blended Learning” presents some specific case studies that highlight the possibilities presented through hybrid course design that proactively take advantage of the best of the online and face to face modalities.

Hoic-Bozic, N., V. Mornar, and I. Boticki. "A Blended Learning Approach to Course Design and Implementation." IEEE Transactions on

      Education 52.1 (2009): 19-30. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

This study used a particular LMS, adaptive hypermedia courseware (aHyCo) as part of a blended learning environment for an information science course. Multiple learning theories (behaviorism, cognitivism and constructivism) were used in developing a student-centered approach focused on active and collaborative learning. The authors of the study provide a mini how-to guide that illustrates how they structured their learning environment. The results show that learning outcomes improved and attrition rates in the course declined as a result of the blended instruction.

Kaleta, Robert, Karen Skibba, and Tanya Joosten. “Discovering, Designing, and Delivering Hybrid Courses.” Blended Learning :

      Research Perspectives. Eds. Picciano, Anthony G. and Charles Dziuban. Sloan-C, 2007. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

Ten published researchers in the field of online learning each contributed a chapter to this collection. Though the entire content of this book is relevant, chapter 6, “Discovering, Designing, and Delivering Hybrid Courses” provided a how to guide for developing hybrid courses. Similar to Warnock’s recommendation that instructors avoid playing the role of sage, Kaleta et al. note that the hybrid modality helped instructors to be a “guide on the side” as opposed to being a “sage on the stage” (123). The authors describe the various roles that hybrid instructors play including: pedagogical, social, managerial and technological and they further breakdown these areas to highlight transformational aspects for faculty as well as students. This article highlights the various modes of support that transfer students need to succeed and illustrates how a hybrid modality can deliver on these various fronts.

Kim, K.J., & Bonk, C. “The Future of Online Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: The Survey Says…” Educause Quarterly 29.4

      (2006): 22-30. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.

This research suggests that blended learning will have increased significance in higher education in the coming years. It also highlights that institutions will need to acknowledge the advanced capabilities offered by online instruction and ensure that instructors and professors receive adequate training and support to do it well. This study anticipates that learning objects will become widely and casually used outside the scope of traditional educational situations and that systems will become increasingly sophisticated and support more realistic online environments.

Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Teaching Online, MERLOT. California State University, 1997. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

The MERLOT offers a number of resources and benefits geared towards improving the quality of online materials, teaching and practices. MERLOT’s collection is extensive and includes learning materials and exercises that are discipline specific. Before addition to the collection, materials are peer-reviewed. The organization of website allows educators, administrators, etc. to select content that is discipline specific and they are further categorized under 19 different material types such as: Animations, assessment tool, development tool, open textbook, presentation or simulation. In order to access the full content you must become a member however, membership is free.

Poisel, M.A., & Joseph, S. (Eds). (2011). Transfer Students in Higher Education: Building Foundations for Policies, Programs and

      Services that Foster Student Success (Monograph No. 54). Columbia, SC:University of South Carolina, National Resource

      Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition.

This monograph provides a very structured way to broadly understand the components that impact transfer student success. Significantly, the text outlines best practices at various levels and across different units. The key transition for transfers exists when they exit their community college and enter a University. This transition often involves what is noted in the field as “transfer shock” and leads to a decline in student performance in the first semester at the University. The overarching theme is to create programs, policies and approaches that are student-centered.

Tobolowsky, Barbara F., and Bradley E. Cox. "Rationalizing Neglect: An Institutional Response To Transfer Students." Journal of

      Higher Education 83.3 (2012): 389-410. ERIC. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.

This qualitative study focused on the institutional agents who were in contact with a high number of transfer students which is quite a different approach since most studies work directly with transfer students. This provides a different level of perspective in terms of the research and the authors report that the participants learned quite a bit about the hardships that transfer students face. The primary findings of this study indicate that the institutional agents encountered resistance when trying to alleviate obstacles for transfers and needed for the topic to receive institutional priority to gain additional support. Significantly, this study also concluded that transfer populations are incredibly diverse and as a result, developing successful programming is more difficult.

Townsend, Barbara K, and Kristin Wilson. "'A Hand Hold For A Little Bit': Factors Facilitating the Success of Community College

      Transfer Students to a Large Research University." Journal of College Student Development 4 (2006): 439-456.Web. 24 Feb.


This qualitative study tracks students through the transfer process from a community college to a major research institution. The authors note the student perceptions of outgoing assistance received from the community college as well as incoming assistance received from the University. The authors acknowledge that there are complex institutional differences to which students must adjust in a very short period of time and that transition resources are disproportionately allocated to First Year students. Students note that additional resources, support and interventions are needed to assist with their transition and they see themselves as different types of freshmen. This article provides a clear and fair assessment of the transfer experience as well as the disproportion in resources allocated to freshmen versus transfer students.