Measuring Effectiveness in Online Instruction

Measuring Effectiveness in Online Instruction

Louis B. Swartz (Robert Morris University, USA), Michele T. Cole (Robert Morris University, USA) and Daniel J. Shelley (Robert Morris University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-963-7.ch016
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To remain competitive, expand access to education, and meet the needs of students, institutions of higher education are offering larger numbers of online courses. Asonline instruction increases, educational institutions, students and society need to make sure that onlinecourses and programs are as effective as traditional classroom courses and educational programs. To address this need, this paper focuses on the question, “Are onlinecourses and programs as effective as those taught in the classroom?” Numerous authors have addressed the question of the effectiveness of online classes (Keegan, D., 1996; Russell, T., 1999; Schulman, A.H. and Sims, R.L., 1999; Harasim, L. 2000; Ryan, R.C. 2000; Rivera, J.C. and Rice, M.L., 2002; Bernard, R.M., et al, 2004; Frantz, P.L. and Wilson, A.H., 2004; Suanpang, P., Petocz, P. and Kalceff, W., 2004; Fjermestad, Hiltz, S. and Zhang, Y. 2005; Weaver-Kaulis, A. and Crutsinger, C., 2006). Most studies center on student satisfaction and/or student learning. The studies have produced mixed results. This paper provides a summary of a number of important studies on theeffectiveness of online courses and educational programs. It synthesizes the results from the studies and presents possible reasons for the differences in findings. It concludes with a discussion of future trends and suggestions for areas of further study.

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