Asynchronous online education and introductory statistics: The role of learner characteristics
Nicholas Peter Gorman, University of Southern California, United States
University of Southern California . Awarded
Increasingly, online classes have been used to address the rising demand for statistics training and calls for improved curricula. However, little empirical research has examined the efficacy of online statistics courses. The present study sought to fill this niche by comparing the grades, attrition, pass rates, and satisfaction of 181 students enrolled in 4 face-to-face and 2 online introductory health science statistics courses. As methodological controls, the online and face-to-face curriculums were made as similar as possible, a single instructor taught all 6 classes, and blinded teaching assistants conducted all grading. In addition, differences in students' demographic characteristics, psychological factors, time constraints, and previous knowledge were assessed and controlled for prior to examining their learning outcomes. Contrary to past findings, face-to-face students outperformed online students in terms of their exam scores and pass rates. In addition, online students were found to be closer to graduation, less likely to be pursuing a Health Science degree, had taken more mathematics courses, placed lower value on their statistics training, displayed more negative attitudes toward statistics, and reported less confidence in their ability to learn statistics software. The implications of these findings for educators and researchers are examined in depth.
Gorman, N.P. Asynchronous online education and introductory statistics: The role of learner characteristics. Ph.D. thesis, University of Southern California.
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