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Effective Use of Comic Strip Development in an Online Learning Environment

      Objective: To evaluate effectiveness of using comic strip development to review basic management functions through peer evaluation in an online learning module.
      Target Audience: Graduate level nutrition and dietetics students participating in a four-week, online nutrition services management course.
      Theory, Prior Research, Rationale: While the effective use of comic strip development is more widely acceptable at the elementary and secondary levels, limited research is available on its effectiveness in higher education. Tenets of the Social Cognitive Theory and the Theory of Instructional Design were incorporated into the development of this interactive comic strip assignment.
      Description of Course and Curriculum: The graduate students (n = 22) selected a management topic related to food and nutrition services from a pre-determined list and individually designed a four-square comic square using ToonDo. The comic strips were developed then posted in a discussion forum for review and comment by their peers.
      Evaluation: Students responded to an 8-question online survey on their perception of the effectiveness of the assignment in assessing knowledge of the management function as well as their level of engagement with this assignment. The majority of students (77%) stated they learned from their classmates' comic strips with 63% of students stating that they enjoyed participating in the peer evalution. Fourteen students (58%) agreed that comic strips could be utilized to enhance learning with half of the students agreeing that comic strips could be used to assess student learning.
      Conclusions and Implications: The inclusion of the comic strip assignment was an effective, engaging, and enjoyable way to assess the practical application of a management function in a creative manner. Nutrition educators could utilize this strategy when having students develop educational presentations or as an ice breaker.
      Funding: None.

      Supplementary Data

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