Conditional release of course materials: Assessing best practice recommendations

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Raffo, Deana M.
Gardner, Justin G.
Fisher, Lawanna S.
Brinthaupt. Thomas M.
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Middle Tennessee State University
MERLOT and Online Learning Consortium
With advances in learning management systems and online course delivery methods, teachers have a variety of options to control the release of course content based on specific criteria. Despite the availability of such conditional release tools, very little research has assessed student perceptions and experiences with these tools. In a 2011 article, Gardner, Fisher, Raffo, and Brinthaupt put forward a number of best practice recommendations to guide the implementation of conditional release tools. This paper reports on the authors' evaluation of several of those recommendations through a survey of undergraduate student perceptions of the use of conditional release in their courses. The results of the study provide support for the recommendations, with students reporting positive evaluations of and experiences with the conditional release tool. In addition, students with lower overall grades reported being more engaged in the courses compared to those with higher overall grades. Implications of these results for the strategic use of conditional release of course content are presented.
Conditional release, Learning management system (LMS), Scaffolding, Best practices, Student perceptions, Online pedagogy, Content mastery
MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, Volume 10, Number 2, June 2014.