The Pros and Cons of Online Lecture Accessibility in the Context of “Skills-based” Courses

By Ada Le, Steve Joordens, Sophie Chrysostomou and Raymond Grinnell.

Published by Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

At the University of Toronto at Scarborough, we provide enhanced flexibility to our students using a blended learning approach (i.e., the webOption) whereby students can attend lectures live, watch them online at their convenience, or both. The current research examines the use of pause and seek features afforded by the webOption interface and student satisfactory with webOption in two mathematics courses. These courses emphasize the teaching of mathematical proofs; cognitive skills that are enhanced with practice (Schneider & Shiffrin, 1977). Access to online lectures allows students to re-experience the professor as they teach these skills. Given this, it is predicted that webOption might be especially potent in these learning contexts. The results we report here do not confirm that prediction. Students do use and appreciate the features of the webOption, however, those students who augmented their class attendance with online viewing, and those who used the lecture-control features the most, were actually the students who performed most poorly. That is, those students who had the most trouble with the course did indeed use the webOption as a way of understanding the material better but, interestingly, doing so did not result in better performance. Several possible reasons for this surprising result are considered and investigated.

Keywords: Online Lectures, WebOption, Calculus, Performance, Surface Learning, Deep Learning

Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.71-78. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.523MB).

Ada Le

Masters Student, Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Prof. Steve Joordens

Full Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Sophie Chrysostomou

Senior Lecturer, Computer and Mathematics Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Raymond Grinnell

Senior Lecturer, Computer and Mathematical Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada