Universities and colleges constantly attempt to address student needs by offering courses in various time frames. Because it is difficult for teachers to enroll and attend classes during the “normal” two- or three-day format for 15 weeks, graduate classes in education are typically offered as a one evening per week class. In summer, when teachers usually are not working, classes may be offered in an alternative format meeting for longer periods of time in each class session but for fewer weeks. There are, however, questions concerning the changes in class scheduling. Although the seat time in an eightweek extended period class is equivalent to a 15-week class, are the learning outcomes equivalent? According to Rayburn and Rayburn (1999), if only responses on multiple choice Accounting exams were considered, there was no effect of class length. If, however, problem solving was also considered, there was a statistically significant effect based on length of the class.
The amount of time spent in a classroom (commonly called seat time) has been a standard for judging the value of a class for years. Schools have established policies that if a student is absent for a specified number of classes, the student cannot pass the class—regardless of knowledge. Higher education institutions have used the number of minutes of classroom meetings to determine the hours of credit for a class. Yet, many professionals have argued that performance—that is, attaining objectives—should be the focus of evaluation. Carnevale (2001) suggested assessing outcomes rather than mode of instruction or time in study. Seemingly in response to this, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (Performance, not seat time, 2000) has shifted from assessment of seat time to performance-based evaluation. Consequently, the new NCATE standards emphasize results that show the student’s competence rather than seat time (Equity and high standards, 2000). This situation has encouraged the development of Web-based classes.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Interactive Video: Presentation of class via video with student ability to respond to the instructor.
Performance-Based Evaluation: Measure of a student’s performance after receiving treatment.
Learning Outcomes: Measure of the performance of a student after receiving treatment.
Eta Square: Statistical measure of the amount of variance accounted for by a treatment.
Seat Time: Time spent in a traditional classroom.
Online Course: Delivery of class via the World Wide Web.
Distance Education: Teaching in which there is distance between the instructor and the student.
Correspondence Education: Delivery of class lessons by mail.
Web-Based Class: Class offered via the World Wide Web.
Traditional Students: Students attending a face-to-face class.