Online students as good as classroom peers in studies

Friday, November 19, 2010

WASHINGTON - Online students perform as well as their regular classroom counterparts, says a new study.

A University of Nebraska study in US gauged students’ perception and performance in three undergraduate science courses having both online and classroom versions.

It found that online students did not feel a sense of cohesion, community spirit, trust or interaction — elements that have been shown to foster effective classroom learning.

But they also reported performing as well as their regular counterparts and at the end of the day, their grades were equivalent to their in-person peers, reports The Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education.

“Previous research has shown that students who feel like they are connected to their classmates tend to enjoy their classes more and ultimately get better grades,” said study author Robert Vavala, an agronomy graduate student at the University of Nebraska.

“We wanted to determine if online students felt the same way about their classes that face-to-face students did and if so, whether or not that affected their grades,” Vavala added.

Researchers assembled the data from a survey of more than 250 students enrolled in three different entry-level science courses at a large Midwestern public university. The same instructors taught both versions of each of the courses, according to a Nebraska statement.

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