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Mediators of the effectiveness of online courses

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2 Author(s)
Benbunan-Fich, R. ; Baruch Coll., City Univ. of New York, NY, USA ; Hiltz, S.R.

A three-year field study of 17 courses, part of an undergraduate degree in information systems, compared the process and outcomes of three modes of delivery: totally online via asynchronous learning networks, traditional face-to-face courses, and sections using a mix of traditional and online activities. There were no significant differences in perceived learning by students associated with mode of delivery. Group collaboration and access to professors was perceived to be highest in mixed-mode sections, while convenience was rated highest in the distance sections. For online courses, there was generally a significant relationship between the hypothesized mediators (active participation, motivation, collaboration, access to the professor, and convenience) and perceived learning. Overall, the results of this study show that outcomes of online courses improved when professors structured them to support the growth of a learning community, by being available online to interact with students, and by using collaborative learning strategies.

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Professional Communication, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:46 ,  Issue: 4 )