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Impact of Two Course Content Delivery Systems on Student Learning

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2010 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 20 - June 23, 2010  1009060.(doi:10.13031/2013.29797)
Authors:   Darren H Jarboe, D Raj Raman, Katrina L Christiansen
Keywords:   Keywords: Biorenewables, distance education, biomass production, Smartboard lecture, Flash.

In 2007, a USDA Higher Education Challenge Grant funded the creation of a Virtual Education Center (VEC) for Biorenewable Resources at three partner land-grant institutions. Three new courses are taught through the VEC, each using multiple instructors and exchanges of video lectures between sites. The most heavily subscribed of these is a graduate survey type course entitled Fundamentals of Biorenewable Resources. In this paper, we report on comparisons of two online delivery methods used in the fundamentals course: 1) a standard video lecture using a Smartboard, and 2) a self-contained Flash teaching module. In both cases, the same biomass-production-focused content was presented. This part of the course occurred eight weeks into the 15-week long semester, allowing us to sort students based on prior course performance to ensure the two groups were academically similar. The DVDs contained identical academic content, half with the Smartboard-lectures and the other half the Flash teaching modules. Student performance data from the course was collected through WebCT assessments (quizzes and an exam) in spring 2010, and student learning differences were determined, using a Felder-Soloman Index of Learning Studies framework.

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