• Improving Online Academic Reading Success

      Saxby, Lori E.; Wittmer, Christine; Wittmer, Christine
      Topic/Problem Reading academic material online is here and is not going away. While research shows that college students prefer to read information in print rather than on a screen, they will be required to read and learn academic information online. How can we as instructors assist college students to successfully navigate online material and develop online academic reading strategies? Context The navigation of online texts is a challenge for the students who use e-texts as well as for the instructors who teach courses utilizing them. Students seem to prefer the lower cost of e-textbooks as well as the environmental benefit, but do not generally appreciate the many challenges and difficulties of e-textbook reading. Previous discussions with faculty members about this conundrum led us to investigate why reading online is a problem and what strategies are suggested to improve comprehension of online material. Approach Our research found students overwhelmingly preferred reading academic material in print rather than on a screen because of eyestrain, and they exhibited a less serious attitude when reading online (Dwyer & Davidson, 2013; Jabr, 2013; Salter, n.d.; Sandberg, 2011). In addition, reading online impacted student learning as students tended to read slower and less accurately, had trouble concentrating, and experienced decreased comprehension (Alexander & Singer, 2017; Jabr, 2013; Myrberg & Wiberg, 2015; Sandberg, 2011). Despite the problems experienced when reading online, we focused our search on what would aid instructors and students in developing online reading and comprehension strategies. We also discussed our findings with college reading colleagues at a national conference to ascertain what strategies their students found helpful. Reflection In addition to the research we found in this emerging field, discussions with other colleagues and positive interactions we have had with our students show there is evidence of strategies that can improve student learning with online academic material (Dwyer & Davidson, 2013; Hodgson, 2010; Jabr, 2013; Sandberg, 2011). These strategies include effective notetaking methods and the use of graphic organizers as well as asking students to summarize, synthesize, paraphrase and make predictions as they read. Instructor provided prompts, modeling and scaffolding can also improve online academic reading success.  A list of these strategies will be shared at the symposium and participants will be encouraged to join in the discussion and share their experiences. References Alexander, P. & Singer, L. (2017, October 15).  A new study shows that students learn way more effectively from print textbooks than screens.  The Conversation. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/students-learning-education-print-textbooks-screens-study-2017-10 Dwyer, K. & Davidson, M. (2013).  General education oral communication assessment and student preferences for learning: E-textbook versus paper textbook. Communication Teacher, 27(2), 111-125. doi: 10.1080/17404622.2012.752514 Hodgson, K. (2010, November 29).  Strategies for online reading comprehension. Instructify. Retrieved from https://intructitest.wordpress.com/2010/11/29/instructifeature-online-reading-comprehension-strategies/ Jabr, F. (2013, April 11). The reading brain in the digital age:  The science of paper versus screens. Scientific American. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/reading-paper-screens/ Kauffman, D, Zhao, R, & Kauffman, Y.  (2011). Effects of online note taking formats and self-monitoring prompts on learning from online text: Using technology to enhance self-regulated learning. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 36, 313-322. doi:10.1016/j.cedpsych.2011.04.001. Myrberg, C., & Wiberg, N. (2015). Screen vs. paper: what is the difference for reading and learning? Insights, 28(2), 49–54. doi: http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.236 Niccoli, A. (2015, September 28).  Paper or tablet?  Reading recall and comprehension. EducauseReview. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2015/9/paper-or-tablet-reading-recall-and-comprehension Salter, P. (n.d.). Impact of reading from a screen versus from printed material. Retrieved from http://www.radford.act.edu.au/storage/reading-on-screens-v-paper.pdf Sandberg, K. (2011). College student academic online reading: A review of the current literature. Journal of College Reading and Learning, 42(1), 89-98. doi: 10.1080/10790195.2011.10850350