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An Assessment Of Performance And Learning Experience Of Students In A Distance Learning Program

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

International Distance & Service Learning for Engineers- Discussion on Best Practices

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Page Count


Page Numbers

12.202.1 - 12.202.8



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Paper Authors

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Keshav Varde University of Michigan-Dearborn

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

An Assessment of Performance and Learning Experience of Students in a Distance Learning Program


The easy access and efficiency of internet have led to an explosive growth in educational programs offered via distance learning or asynchronous modes. While such programs provide opportunities for students and professionals to advance their education and complete their educational aspirations there have been criticisms on the quality of education and value-added knowledge gained by students. The College of Engineering and Computer Science at this institution has been offering several graduate degree programs via AL learning mode; these programs are identical to those offered to on-campus students. This provided an opportunity to assess and compare performance and learning outcomes of AL Vs on-campus students.

This assessment was based on two graduate level courses which had a combined enrollment of over 150 graduate students. While the quality of instruction and knowledge transfer to both the groups was about the same, academic assessment of the two groups showed following characteristics:

1. Although AL students, on average, performed as well as the campus students, the spread in their performance was larger than the campus students. 2. Self-discipline and time management seemed to be some of the major factors contributing to larger standard deviation in various performance categories. 3. The top three quartile of AL students were as well educated and had almost equal learning experience with their counterparts but the last quartile of AL students struggled more than the campus students. 4. Both the groups were well-equipped to handle technology, including the use of computer software to do projects and assignments. 5. On average, the instructor had to devote much more time to AL students’ learning and comprehension than the campus students.

This paper discusses these and other findings that would help AL program planners and instructors to devote appropriate resources to distance or asynchronous learning programs.

1. Introduction The need to serve educational needs of working professionals and advances in computer and multimedia technology have led colleges, universities and many professional societies and for- profit organizations to offer a suite of programs ranging from customized courses to undergraduate and graduate degree programs. In the last decade or so there has been a continued growth in this arena using on-line or distance learning (DL) or asynchronous learning (AL) programs.

Varde, K. (2007, June), An Assessment Of Performance And Learning Experience Of Students In A Distance Learning Program Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2286

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