Student Survey Results: Using Courseware for Spring 2020 Courses
Posted on 6/5/20 by Andra Bowditch
When universities abruptly pivoted to distance learning starting in mid-March due to the pandemic, the team at Visible Body offered any instructor and their students access to Visible Body Courseware free of charge through the end of June. More than a thousand instructors took us up on that offer and finished their course using Visible Body Courseware.
How did students react to moving from in-person lectures or labs to using 3D apps to complete assignments and quizzes on their computers at home?
In early May, just after most universities completed final exams, we sent out a survey to college students in the U.S. whose instructors had quickly switched to using Courseware to finish the course. We were interested in learning how these students had used Courseware, how easy they found the software, and how they felt about this mode of learning, given that it was so abruptly introduced to them.
Thousands of instructors used Visible Body Courseware to quickly pivot their Spring 2020 courses from face- to- face to online.
Over 500 students responded to our brief online survey. Here are the top three things that we learned.
1. Most instructors required that students use Visible Body Courseware to complete coursework and take graded quizzes. Many students relied on Courseware for studying.
Three-quarters of the students surveyed said that Courseware was required by their instructors, while one-quarter said that it was only recommended.
For students using Courseware as a required material:
77% used it to complete class or lab assignments
69% used it to take graded quizzes
About 6 in 10 used it for self-study and reference, and the same proportion took advantage of practice quizzes
Those students who had access to Courseware as a recommended (not required) material leveraged it heavily for self-study and reference (78%), but fewer than half (44%) used it to quiz themselves.
2. Students were expected to learn Courseware rapidly. Most perceived the experience positively and would continue using Courseware.
Well over four in five students enjoyed learning with Courseware. A full 40% of students agreed that “learning this way improved my overall experience with the course,” and a further 44% said that “I would appreciate having this resource whether or not the course was on campus or via distance learning.” Only 16% of students said that they would find little benefit to Courseware when on-campus classes resumed.
3. The rapid adoption and high-stakes usage of Courseware functioned as a stress test for the two-year-old platform.
We read through and analyzed thousands of verbatim comments about what students liked about Courseware and where they ran into difficulties. While most students reported the ease of getting Courseware up and running to be as expected or better (with 33% reporting it was “very easy”), the Visible Body team is mindful of the 22% of students who found the process difficult.
The team has three immediate goals to address challenges faced by students:
We are expanding our video tutorials on the help center for students and instructors
The optional on-screen joystick to manipulate the 3D models will be turned on (currently it is an option in the settings menu)
The quiz user interface is being enhanced!
Courseware can be accessed on many different types of computers—with trackpads, an external mouse with optional settings, extended keyboards, and more. For the fall, the team is adding a joystick to the screen so students can all have one standard way to move the 3D models.
We thank all the students who participated in our research for their thoughtful responses. Feedback has always been vital to our product development, and never so important as when the world is so rapidly changing.
Courseware is still free for instructors and students until the end of June! You can get the details about the free access offer here. If you're interested in learning more about using Courseware for a summer or fall course, you can request an instructor code here!
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