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Can Online Classes Match the Quality of In Person Computer Science Classes?

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Conference

2021 ASEE Pacific Southwest Conference - "Pushing Past Pandemic Pedagogy: Learning from Disruption"

Location

Virtual

Publication Date

April 23, 2021

Start Date

April 23, 2021

End Date

April 25, 2021

Page Count

12

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/38230

Download Count

16

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Paper Authors

biography

Heather Marriott Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Prescott

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Computer Science professor for over 10 years.

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Abstract

The objective of this research was to compare the quality of learning for online versus in person students. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the educational landscape in such a way that educational institutions were required to explore alternatives to traditional in-person classes for the Fall 2020 semester. In order to allow every student the same access to the course material regardless of their current health situation or possible quarantine, I decided to run Zoom classes concurrently with all my in-person classes. Additionally, students had the option to choose their preferred method of attendance for each class period, with the exception of the midterm and final exams which were conducted in person only. Areas of study included student perception of the effectiveness of online vs. in person classes and their preferences when allowed to choose between formats. In addition, I evaluated the learning effectiveness of the two formats by correlating attendance choices with exam grades. My findings show that most students selected Zoom attendance for convenience only. The academic performance results reveal a more complex situation. While online attendance is best suited to well-motivated and engaged students, it can facilitate a downward spiral for students with lower motivation or interest8,12. Students in the higher-level courses seemed better equipped to determine the attendance model best suited to their needs. The results of this research could be beneficial to college planners and decision makers when considering the best way to serve the educational needs of students.

Marriott, H. (2021, April), Can Online Classes Match the Quality of In Person Computer Science Classes? Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Pacific Southwest Conference - "Pushing Past Pandemic Pedagogy: Learning from Disruption", Virtual. https://peer.asee.org/38230

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