A comparative study on the traditional and intensive delivery of an online course: design and facilitation recommendations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

In this paper, we present findings from a comparative study on a fully online postgraduate course offered in traditional (i.e. 13-week academic session) and intensive (i.e. 6-week academic session) delivery formats. Keeping the course curriculum, structure and quality consistent in both delivery modes, the study investigated student participation and academic performance given different facilitation techniques applied to the discussion forums. Using data from the learning management system and students’ final marks, we conducted quantitative and qualitative analysis and found no difference in the academic performance of students in both courses; however, there was a statistically significant relationship between student participation and academic performance in the intensive delivery format but not in the traditional delivery format. We also found differences in the type of interactions in the different delivery formats. Two key takeaways emerge from our study. Firstly, intensive online courses can be as effective as traditional courses in terms of achievement of learning outcomes with variations in learning design, in this case, the facilitation approach used. Secondly, considering the level and nature of interactions, student-centred discussion forums that allow students to assume different roles work well in the intensive delivery format especially in open discussions. These are important findings for academics and practitioners who wish to offer intensive courses without compromising on course quality and student success.
LanguageEnglish
Article number2196
Pages1-13
Number of pages13
JournalResearch in Learning Technology
Volume27
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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Students
student
learning
performance
participation
interaction
Curricula
curriculum
management

Bibliographical note

Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • online
  • intensive
  • facilitation
  • discussion
  • interactions
  • performance

Cite this

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abstract = "In this paper, we present findings from a comparative study on a fully online postgraduate course offered in traditional (i.e. 13-week academic session) and intensive (i.e. 6-week academic session) delivery formats. Keeping the course curriculum, structure and quality consistent in both delivery modes, the study investigated student participation and academic performance given different facilitation techniques applied to the discussion forums. Using data from the learning management system and students’ final marks, we conducted quantitative and qualitative analysis and found no difference in the academic performance of students in both courses; however, there was a statistically significant relationship between student participation and academic performance in the intensive delivery format but not in the traditional delivery format. We also found differences in the type of interactions in the different delivery formats. Two key takeaways emerge from our study. Firstly, intensive online courses can be as effective as traditional courses in terms of achievement of learning outcomes with variations in learning design, in this case, the facilitation approach used. Secondly, considering the level and nature of interactions, student-centred discussion forums that allow students to assume different roles work well in the intensive delivery format especially in open discussions. These are important findings for academics and practitioners who wish to offer intensive courses without compromising on course quality and student success.",
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A comparative study on the traditional and intensive delivery of an online course : design and facilitation recommendations. / Vlachopoulos, Panos; K Jan, Shazia; Lockyer, Lori.

In: Research in Learning Technology, Vol. 27, 2196, 2019, p. 1-13.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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