An Analysis of Technology Enhancements in a Large Lecture Course

by Diane Harley; Jonathan Henke; Shannon Lawrence; Michael Maher

Sep 1, 2003
As the large lecture course continues to be a component of many college programs, the potential of online technology to enhance such courses remains a question for researchers. To what extent can such technology result in saving financial resources and teaching time? How do students attending lectures respond to online course components? Does such technology have a noticeable impact on student performance and remote learning? In a study conducted at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, authors Diane Harley, Jonathan Henke, and Michael W. Maher compared traditional and technology-enhanced versions, including video lectures streamed over the internet, of an undergraduate chemistry course over a two-year span. In their findings, the authors indicate significant potential savings of money and teaching time after the second year as well as positive student attitudes towards the technology. Although the technology-enhanced version of the course did not result in any noticeable differences in student performance, the authors conclude that the benefits of online technology for large lectures remain substantial, particularly in providing stressed students with flexibility in their use of time and space, including viewing lectures remotely while preparing for exams. With respect to fully realizing significant institutional cost-savings, however, more faculty members would need to share and reuse course materials than is currently the case.
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