For an online course encompassing "traditional campus students": How, where, and when students work and engage with the course material

Jonathan P. Mathews, Noela Haughton, Sarma Pisupati, Alan W. Scaroni, David DiBiase

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The data presented here reveal how traditional college students cope with a totally online class experience. The largest enrollment online course at The Pennsylvania State University is the general education offering "Energy & the Environment", developed jointly by the Department of Energy & Geo-Environmental Engineering and the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute. Within the first 2-years <1,000 students (mostly on-campus residential students) have been engaged, online. Students work independently or in self-forming cohorts reading text, listening to audio, watching movie clips, and interacting with imagery or simulations online. The majority of students fit the traditional profile in terms of age and on-campus residential status. The class is consistently 60% male. The students are predominantly sophomores (41%), although all academic standings are present within this general education course. One of the main reasons given for enrolling is "flexibility." Roughly half of the student activity (56%) is after the traditional workday of 8 AM to 5:00 PM. Only 10% of the online activity occurs within the traditional morning hours. In a class with weekly Friday evening deadlines, there was little activity (measured by number of page requests) occurring on Saturday (5%), Friday has the bulk of the activity (27%). About 72% of the students accessed the material from home with a high-speed connection. About 17% did the bulk of their work at a computing laboratory, despite the fact that 96% of the class has a personal computer. While the students gained content specific knowledge, they also learned "self-discipline" and other "professional" behavior, and had exposure to online learning and course management software.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F1D-12-F1D-16
JournalProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
StatePublished - 2004
Event34th Annual Frontiers in Education: Expanding Educational Opportunities Through Partnerships and Distance Learning - Conference Proceedings, FIE - Savannah, GA, United States
Duration: Oct 20 2004Oct 23 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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