Academic journal article College Student Journal

Comparing Educational Leadership Course and Professor Evaluations in On-Line and Traditional Instructional Formats: What Are the Students Saying?

Academic journal article College Student Journal

Comparing Educational Leadership Course and Professor Evaluations in On-Line and Traditional Instructional Formats: What Are the Students Saying?

Article excerpt

As colleges and universities compete for student enrollment, the emergence of on-line instruction has become a world-wide reality. This study investigated course candidates' evaluations of a course and professor that was delivered in two distinctly different on-line formats and a traditional face-to-face format. The study focused on student evaluations and comments that were generated from end-of course evaluations of course format and professor efficacy. The syllabi used for the courses in each of the three delivery formats were identical. The study, conducted over a period of an academic year, sought to compare students' perceptions of the strength of the course and professor in the three formats.

On-line and Traditional Instructional Formats

As the world's colleges and universities strive to maintain their viability in the marketplace many have, to at least some extent, become engaged in on-line programs that range from individual courses to stand-alone degree programs. The courses in these programs are taught by instructors and professors whose status range from adjunct instructors to tenured, full professors. Although traditional "brick and mortar" colleges account for many college enrollments, traditional (face-to-face) instruction is becoming less popular to prospective students who find the convenience of on-line instruction more suitable to both their life-style and learning-style.

As college and universities engage in on-line instruction in addition to traditional models of instruction, debates rage in regard to the efficacy of both in regard to preparing students for life after college. Allen (2006) indicates how the efficacy concern has become a major divisive issue in the current-day higher education landscape.

   Large institutions are often faced
   with competing agendas (e.g., profit
   vs. employee satisfaction).
   Likewise, academic institutions, in
   an effort to stay competitive and
   attract quality students and faculty,
   find themselves confronted with
   competing agendas. For traditional
   "brick and mortar" colleges and universities,
   the complexities of the
   current academic landscape present
   numerous paradoxes for students,
   faculty, and administrators. In particular,
   the rush to provide advances
   in technology, specifically on-line
   and distance learning is in sharp contrast
   to institutional goals of retaining
   and graduating students (p. 122).

      In a study conducted by Warren
   and Holloman (2005) outside
   investigators were engaged to determine
   if the outcomes produced by
   on-line programs were different than
   those produced by more traditional
   instructional programs. The results
   indicated that on-line programs were
   as efficacious as their face-to-face
   counterpoint and there was no significant
   difference in student
   satisfaction in the two formats.

On the other hand, Allen (2006) cited three specific reasons why on-line programs were inferior to the traditional face-to-face model programs.

   On-Line courses are likely to distance
   students from important
   aspects of academic integration; On-Line
   courses are likely to distance
   students from opportunities to
   become socially integrated;
   distancing students from the on-campus
   experience creates a sense of
   "distance" from learning and relationship
   building, particularly for
   those students who already feel "distanced"
   (p. 123-124).

In a study conducted by Hurt (2008) initial interviews indicated that on-line instruction was substandard as compared to face-to-face instruction. Further interviews indicated that on-line instruction was not substandard, but was different. The study indicated that the efficacy of on-line programs had less to do with the instruction and more to do with work-habits of the students. In order to be successful in online programs students had to be disciplined to meet rigid timelines and that rigid timelines were necessary for the programs to be successful. …

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