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Journal of Information Systems Education

Abstract

The program evaluation compared student achievement and self-report data in two types of learning environments - a traditional classroom environment and an online learning environment to examine the comparative effectiveness of online delivery, to identify characteristics of successful and unsuccessful distance learning students, and to gauge degree of satisfaction with online delivery. Undergraduate students (N = 93) enrolled in four sections of Business 100, Computer Fundamentals, were assigned by section to complete a 4-weeks long spreadsheet module either in class (control) or online (experimental). The online instruction was delivered via a website and was supplemented with e-mail and listserv discussion. Post test findings revealed no significant differences in knowledge gain between the control (M = .75) and online (M = .77) groups, indicating that this online module was at least as effective as the traditional classroom instruction. Post hoc analysis of achievement data showed that more capable students working online scored significantly better (p < .01) than the more capable control group. Self-report measures compared to achievement indicated that frequent computer users benefited most from online delivery, while frequent computer use was not a factor in the control group's performance. Also competitiveness had a negative correlation with achievement for the online group but not for the control group. In summary, this online instruction provided an effective standardized course delivery. However low-prior knowledge students who are less frequent computer users were not served well by this online instruction.

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