Essays in Education


Online instruction and computer-based innovations in brick-and-mortar institutions are here to stay, but the study of distance delivery is lacking. Areas needing more attention include instructional effectiveness and student satisfaction. Educational quality, especially in online classes, should be monitored and evaluated to ensure learning, collaboration, and success, as well as to gain knowledge and improve practice. The purpose of this paper is to encourage scholar–practitioner dialogue on and comparison of issues pertaining to online and in-person instruction for adult learners. The research question guiding this exploratory qualitative study was, Are there any differences in the learning performance of two graduate cohorts—one online, the other in-person—taking the same course in a given semester? Teaching professors committed to innovative technology that facilitates student success likely find themselves weighing the pros and cons of teaching electronically as opposed to in-person. The anticipated contribution of this study is to inform faculty who may be hesitant to teach graduate courses or who are seeking ways to enhance their curriculum for online delivery. Researchers of instructional practice may find the structure of inquiry, results, and recommendations useful for their own purposes.



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