Teaching Principles to the Masses: Assessing Student Performance in Lecture Capture vs. Face-to-Face Course Delivery
15 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2011
Date Written: May 1, 2011
Public universities are facing fiscal constraints due to declining state tax revenues and a resulting funding decrease. Improvements in technology have made possible the use of on-line lecture capture (LC) instruction. The question arises as to how LC delivery affects the effectiveness of instruction. The research literature on distance learning over the years has typically found no significant differences in student performance for the various instructional delivery modalities. With recent computer and video advances, high quality courses, streamed over the Internet, are now becoming common. However, little research to date has been published that specifically examines student performance or perceptions of courses that employ lecture capture. In this case, lecture capture refers to storing videos of actual course lectures on our college’s computer server, and making them available to students via their course websites, during the semester in which the course is offered. Students may view these videos at their convenience, as often as they wish, and without the need to download the videos onto their own computers. This study examined student performance and student perceptions in two large sections (N>300) of an introductory Economics course. One section employed traditional face-to-face instruction, and the other employed LC over the Internet. This study took place over two consecutive semesters. Students selected their course section (delivery format) during course registration. The instructional methods, exams, and instructor were the same for each section over both semesters. Students who agreed to participate allowed the authors to use their exam and homework scores, final grade, and some demographic data to compare student performance across the two delivery approaches. At the end of each semester, participating students also were asked to complete an online survey about their perceptions of their course section. The results indicated that there were no significant differences in student performance across the two delivery formats. Our results did show a higher withdrawal rate in the LC sections compared to the face-to-face sections (5.1% to 1.9%). LC courses require more discipline because students must complete coursework on their own, and it is likely that freshman and sophomores, in particular, may find this medium more difficult. Finally, student perceptions of LC were quite positive. Seventy-two percent perceived that they had more control over their learning than in a traditional face-to-face class. Forty-three percent also responded that they felt LC enhanced their performance in the course, while only 28% thought that it did not. Eighty percent indicated that LC was as good as or better than the traditional large lecture class experience, and 73% reported that they would choose to take another LC course. The flexibility and convenience of LC were what students liked the most about taking the course this way. Thus, it does appear that, indeed, we are “doing no harm” with LC course delivery, and that many students prefer this medium.
JEL Classification: A20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation