July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
In this study, we investigated the effects of online supplemental instruction (SI) and hybrid learning on first-year students who were enrolled in a required first-year general chemistry class for engineers at Northeastern University during the Fall 2020 semester. During the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns about spreading contagion compelled many universities to switch to either fully remote or hybrid learning, the latter an instructional method which combines in-person and remote instruction. Studies have reported conflicting outcomes for online and hybrid instruction, with some showing that students taking classes in an online or hybrid environment perform worse than their in-person counterparts , and others showing that online or hybrid learning can be more effective than in-person learning . The impact of online and hybrid learning models on academic outcomes and attitudes of first year engineering students, specifically those matriculating during the COVID-19 pandemic, merits further attention and was the motivation for our study.
Approximately two decades ago, the College of Engineering at Northeastern University developed the Connections SI program, which provides first-year engineering students with structured group peer tutoring. In recent years, the Connections team has reported how factors such as student and instructor gender, pre-matriculation credit, and previous experience with SI affected use of SI during the first year and academic outcomes (e.g., GPA) during students’ first year through graduation. Specifically, we found that female undergraduates who regularly used SI during enrollment in required first-semester general chemistry had higher rates of retention within engineering and higher first-semester GPAs compared to their male counterparts  - . This current study explored how offering SI online during the Fall 2020 semester influenced students’ participation in SI and whether previous experiences with online learning affected academic outcomes and behaviors. We also looked at whether there were correlations among hybrid course instruction, use of online SI, and course grades in general chemistry and overall GPAs this past fall. We then compared these outcomes to our previous findings from multiple reports for a recent group of students who had graduated and only had in-person classes and SI .
We found that chemistry course grades and course completion rates were higher in Fall 2020 than in Fall 2013, suggesting that online SI and hybrid course instruction did not negatively impact first-semester academic outcomes. However, students in Fall 2020 who attended class in person multiple times weekly, under the University’s rotating weekly schedule, had higher GPAs than students who attended class in person only two-to-four times monthly. Participation in SI was impacted by the hybrid format: a lower percentage of students attended SI when it was held remotely in Fall 2020 compared to when SI was held in person in Fall 2013. However, a slightly higher percentage of males used SI during Fall 2020 compared to Fall 2013, while a significantly lower percentage of females used SI during Fall 2020 compared to Fall 2013. Among users of SI, females having significantly higher chemistry course grades and first semester GPAs than males. Based on analysis of surveys offered to enrolled students, we also found that students’ attitudes towards online learning at the end but not the beginning of the semester had a significant correlation with their chemistry course grades and GPAs.
Morris, S. A., & Boyce, H., & Ghio, C., & Dee, A., & Pathwick-Paszyc, A., & DiMilla, P., & Reisberg, R. (2021, July), Hybrid Learning: For Better or Worse? The Effect of Hybrid Learning on Grades and Attitudes of First-year Engineers in Chemistry Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37263
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