With the exploration of different aspects of online education in our article reviews, I have found myself stuck in a place of questioning what the advantages and disadvantages are of online instruction. I am specifically interested in the application of online learning in secondary education because I am a high school teacher. I am interested in what prepares students to be successful or unsuccessful in online courses. When a student fails to earn credit in an F2F instructional course they are often allowed to complete an online course to make-up that credit. I understand the need for credit recovery especially at the secondary level, but I question if taking a student who was unsuccessful in the traditional classroom and putting them in an online course is really going to be beneficial to them or not. This is currently how students make-up credits that they didn’t earn in F2F courses in our district. I started by looking last week at student readiness for online learning. This week my article was, A Large Sample Comparison of Grade Based Student Learning Outcomes in Online vs. Face to Face Courses, focusing on which instructional model online or face to face produced better grade based student learning outcomes.
This study does have limitations as it specifically focuses on comparing F2F and online instruction at only one university. The sample courses for the experiment “consisted of every course taught at the institution over a three year time period that was taught in both an online and face to face format at least once by the same faculty member over this period of time” if the course was only taught in one format and not the other it was not included in the study (Jacquemin and Cavanaugh 2015). Despite the limitations, this research does add value to my ability to create an online educational philosophy. I have always supported face-to-face instruction compared to online at the secondary level. I want to keep my students in my classroom, but as online learning becomes more accessible I would like to be informed and knowledgeable about what the differences between the two are with regards to student learning outcomes.
As both online and F2F instruction are different the researchers suggested the following from this study “as online education continues to grow, success and failure of one format or another should be gauged through instructional content, grade-based outcomes, grade disparity, course completion rates, program matriculation, as well as qualitative aspects of higher education” (Jacquemin and Cavanaugh 2015). The study did not factor in qualitative aspects of higher education, but they did analyze the results of classes taught online and F2F over a three year period regarding grade-based outcomes, grade disparity, course completion rates as well as instructional content. The researchers concluded that there was not a significant difference in grade-based outcomes between online or F2F instruction.
The most difficult aspect I found from this research is the fact that the students that they identified as being successful taking online courses were academically high already in F2F classes, “interestingly, a model-based interaction between course type and student GPA indicated a cumulative effect whereby students with higher GPAs will perform even better in online courses (or alternatively, struggling students perform worse when taking courses in an online format compared to a face-to-face format)” (Jacquemin and Cavanaugh 2015). This suggests that if a student is already struggling to be successful in a F2F classroom, putting them in an online course will not benefit them.
This research study has me questioning if our district is currently using online courses as credit recovery, are we setting up these students to be successful? Between my article review of last week and this week, I have determined that especially at the secondary level before students are placed in an online class it needs to be established if they are ready to work on time and if this is setting them up for success or failure. I see the relevance and need for online instruction at the post-secondary level, but I think that currently, it needs to be redesigned at the secondary level. Currently, if a student takes a course online they are taking a course not associated with the Kodiak High School. The overall consensus is that they are too easy. I think we could better suit online courses for students if we were creating the online courses ourselves. For example, as the Health II teacher students could have the option of completing my class F2F or online, but I would be teaching both. This would allow the student to be taking an online course that was created using the same standards dictated by the Kodiak High School, not a pre-made one that fits some of the needs but not all.
Cavanaugh, J. and Jacquemin, S. (2015). A Large Sample Comparison of Grade Based Student Learning Outcomes in Online vs. Face to Face Courses. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1062940.pdf