This mixed methods study combined quantitative statistics and qualitative inquiry to determine if any differences exist between how students in face-to-face and online college English composition courses performed on and demonstrated knowledge of the California state curriculum standards, and to explore the online learning environment in this context. Online delivery of courses in community college distance education programs is growing year by year, and the quality of this delivery method is questioned in academic departments and regulatory agencies nationwide. Therefore, an over-riding goal of this study was to assess what students actually learned in lower-division online and face-to-face college English composition courses. To collect the quantitative data, the study participants were given two writing assessments and one reading assessment. To collect qualitative data, the same group of students participated in a focus group or a survey.
Although the face-to-face group performed better on the overall writing scores of the quantitative assessment, this was somewhat mitigated by the qualitative findings. Also, there were no differences in the performance and experiences of the groups in many areas, and there was no sophisticated level of understanding by either group in any category. Although the face-to-face group had stronger overall scores on the writing assessment, both groups were equally low to medium in performance, knowledge, and levels of confidence, which implies that the two groups may share more similarities as students than differences. The findings of this study indicate that both the face-to-face students and the online students need an equal amount of support in preparing for college in order for them to achieve a sophisticated level of understanding and application of the skills in the state standards by the end of the lower-division composition sequence.
Many of findings of this study contributed to supporting established online pedagogy and distance education theory; however, further study is needed to produce conclusive data about the impact of Web 2.0 learning strategies on online composition pedagogy. In conclusion, it is clear that much of what students value in the online learning experience, such as individualization and instant feedback, may also contribute to the improvement of learning in the face-to-face classroom.
|School:||California State University, Fullerton|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 74/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Community college education, Language arts, Educational technology, Higher education|
|Keywords:||College English composition, Composition, Differences between online and face-to-face, Mixed methods, Online education, Pedagogy, Student learning outcomes|
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