A comparison of a distance education and locally based course in an urban university setting

Phyllis P Cordover, Florida International University


The purpose of this research was to compare the academic performance and attitudes of students at the instructor-based site of a televised course and the distant site. An earlier pilot program indicated the need for certain technical and structural interventions at the distant site such as multiple "press-to-touch" microphones, a site-administrator and participative seating arrangements. At the beginning of the class, demographic data were collected from the students at both sites through a questionnaire and supplemented with information from students' records. Factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, number of children, current class status, major, work status and CLAST scores (achievement tests) were examined. There were no significant differences between the students at the sites except ethnicity and reading CLAST scores. The instructor-based site had a higher percentage of Hispanic students and the distant site had a larger percentage of Caucasian and Black Americans. The distant site scored significantly better on the reading section of the CLAST achievement test. An evaluation instrument was distributed to both sites, at the midpoint of the semester, measuring their attitude toward the organizational, technical, and pedagogical factors of the course. A second evaluation instrument, measuring similar factors, but more in-depth, was distributed to both sites near the end of the term. Nine students at the distant site were interviewed along with the site administrator to collect additional information. Course completion rates, dropout rates, pass rates and final grades of students at both sites were compared. There were no significant differences in academic performance between the students at both sites, however, there were significant differences in their attitudes. Those at the instructor-based site gave better ratings to most of items in the evaluation instruments. Problems at the distant site included audio and visual clarity, lack of available assistance, too much nonrelated talking, not enough opportunities to ask questions or to interact with the instructor during class.

Subject Area

Higher education|Adult education|Continuing education|Educational software

Recommended Citation

Cordover, Phyllis P, "A comparison of a distance education and locally based course in an urban university setting" (1996). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9700497.