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School of Professional Advancement assistant dean receives Alex Charters Research Grant

By: Roger Dunaway (roger@tulane.edu)

Sherry Chance, the Assistant Dean for the School of Professional Advancement at Tulane’s Madison (Miss.) campus, received the Alex Charters Research Grant from the Association for Continuing Higher Education at their annual conference in New Orleans.

The purpose of Chance’s case study is to explore the perceptions of undergraduate adult students about their instructional experiences with hybrid courses. A hybrid class is one that uses a combination of face-to-face instruction and online instruction. For example, one week the class meets face-to-face and the next week it meets online.

The School of Professional Advancement began offering hybrid classes in 2015 and according to Chance more research is needed to understand how undergraduate adult students perceive hybrid courses/blended learning in order to improve course design and influence institutional decisions about hybrid courses.  Specifically, this study will explore adult learners’ perceptions of hybrid courses and adult learners’ perceptions of student engagement in hybrid courses.

“I was quite honored to receive the grant at the Annual ACHE Conference in New Orleans,” Chance said.  “I look forward to contributing to the research regarding adult learners especially as it relates to informing educators about adult learners’ perceptions and experiences related to hybrid classes.  The need exists for us to explore this area as we plan to increase options for adult learners through hybrid and online courses and programs. I am grateful for the opportunity to add to the work of Tulane University’s School of Professional Advancement.”

Chance hopes the findings of this study will benefit administrators and policy makers. Her goal is to prove the perceptions of adult students regarding hybrid classes will provide helpful insight for planning, recruiting and enrolling students, and that institutional leaders also recognize the value of student engagement to ensure student success rates.

The grant of $1,500 is named in honor of Dr. Alexander (Alex) N. Charters, an internationally-recognized expert in the field of adult and continuing education.