Teaching Health Online for HBCU College Freshmen

Thursday, April 25, 2013
Exhibit Hall Poster Area 2 (Convention Center)
Linda M. Gagen, Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA

Background/Purpose Online coursework, taught by certified online instructors, is a significant issue in education. The purpose of the study was to examine whether sections taught online were equally effective as those taught in a classroom format.

Method This study examined eight sections of a required general education class in personal health for first and second semester freshmen at an HBCU in the southeastern United States. Four sections were held live on campus and four were offered online, all taught by the same instructor. In both delivery methods, class notes were placed on Blackboard for student reference. The sample consisted of 256 freshmen, 166 women and 90 men,with on campus classes accounting for 61% of the participants due to slightly larger class sizes.

Analysis/Results There were no significant differences in final exam grades (p = .538) or in the final course grades (p = .269) due to method of delivery and there was no method by gender interaction (p = .699). There was no significant interaction of completion rate by method (p = .062). Students in the online sections reported significantly higher levels of satisfaction with the course (p = .02). Qualitative comments from students in online courses reported higher satisfaction with the ability to arrange their study time more effectively around their schedule, saving commuting time and expense to come to campus, and the ability to read and digest the information at their own pace.

Conclusions Online courses can provide students with an equal opportunity for academic success with significantly higher satisfaction.

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