University of Wisconsin, Madison, Extension
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Event or Conference:
Distance Teaching and Learning Conference
Madison, WIUnited States
At the beginning of 2017, the US National Center for Educational Statistics projected there were 17.3 million students in colleges and universities in the United States and 3 million in post baccalaureate programs. Students take classes in various types of classrooms but the three main ones are traditional face-to-face classrooms, online classrooms, and mixed classrooms using face-to-face and online approaches. However, what instructors do in their classrooms and if or how the type of classroom structure affects student outcomes have not been studied extensively. We found a few qualitative studies where instructors described their approaches and techniques in interviews. We also found some disagreements about key terms used to describe classrooms and teaching. Barr and Tagg (1995) found student-centered approaches more effective than teacher or content centered approaches. Hiebert and Grouws (2006) described the effects of teaching on student learning as open ended. We found one direct comparison exploring student learning comparing online with traditional environments (Angiello, 2010). In addition, the U.S. Department of Education published a meta-analytic study (Means, Toyama, Murphy, Bakia, & Jones, 2010) reviewing more than a thousand studies of online learning which reported “on average, students in online learning conditions performed modestly better than those receiving face-to-face instruction” (p. ix). Unfortunately, we found no studies that specifically explored all three of the main classroom types with respect to important student and administrative outcomes. Developing a better understanding of effects of varying operationalization of the college classroom can contribute to improved effectiveness in teaching and education.