In this study we examined differences between online distance education and traditional classroom learning for an introductory undergraduate statistics course. Two outcome dimensions were measured: students’ final grades and student satisfaction with the course. Using independent samples t-tests, results indicated that there was no significant difference in grades between the online and traditional classroom contexts. However, students enrolled in the online course were significantly less satisfied with the course than the traditional classroom students on several dimensions. This finding is inconsistent with the “no significant difference phenomenon,” described in Russell’s (1999) annotated bibliography, which supports minimal outcome differences between online courses and face-to-face courses.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Aberson, C. L., Berger, D. E., Healy, M. R., & Romero, V. L. (2001). Teaching statistics with web technology: The WISE project. Syllabus, 14, 43–45.
Bell, B., & Kaplan, D. E. (1999). CourseMaster: Modeling a pedagogy for on-line distance instruction. Proceedings of the World Conference on Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia. Seattle, Washington. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED446730).
Bennett, G., & Green, F. P. (2001). Student learning in the online environment: No significant difference? Quest, 53, 1–13.
Bessant, K. C. (1992). Instructional design and the development of statistical literacy. Teaching Sociology, 20, 143–149.
Browning, J. (1999). Analysis of concepts and skills acquisition differences between web-delivered and classroom-delivered undergraduate instructional technology courses. Dissertation Abstracts International, 60, 2456A. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ADG 9938354).
Butik, N. (1998). Michigan teachers and the World Wide Web, “Will the World Wide Web change my classroom?” Masters Abstracts International, 37, 1077. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ADG 1393498).
Cennamo, K. S., & Ross, J. D. (2000, April). Strategies to support self-directed learning in a Web-based course. Paper presented a the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED455194).
Cennamo, K. S., Ross, J. D., & Rogers, C. S. (2002). Evolution of a Web-enhanced course: Incorporating strategies for self-regulation. Educause Quarterly, 25, 28-33.
Chickering, A. W., & Ehrmann, S. C. (1996). Implementing the seven principles. AAHE Bulletin, 49(2), 2–4.
Collis, B., Oberg, A., & Shera, W. (1988). An evaluation of computer-based instruction in statistical techniques for education and social work students. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 17, 59–71.
Cyrs, T. E. (1997). Competence in teaching at a distance. In T. E. Cyrs (Ed.), Teaching and learning at a distance: What it takes to effectively design, deliver, and evaluate programs: Vol. 71. New directions for teaching and learning (pp. 15–18). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Dabbagh, N. H. (2000). The challenges of interfacing between face-to-face and online instruction. TechTrends, 44, 37–42.
de Boer, W., & Collis, B. (2002). A changing pedagogy in e-learning: From acquisition to contribution. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 13, 87–101.
Dereshiwsky, M. I. (1998, April). “Go figure”: The surprising success of teaching statistics courses via Internet. Paper contributed to the Teaching in the Community Colleges Online Conference, “Online Instruction: Trends and Issues II.” (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED449975).
Dunn, D. S. (2001, August). Two heads are better than one: Learning statistics in common. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED458272).
Firdyiwek, Y. (1999). Web-based courseware tools: Where is the pedagogy? Educational Technology, 39, 29–34.
Fullerton, J. A., & Umphrey, D. (2001, March). An analysis of attitudes toward statistics: Gender differences among advertising majors. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED456479).
Gallagher, P., & McCormick, K. (1999). Student satisfaction with two-way interactive distance learning for delivery of early childhood special education coursework. Journal of Special Educational Technology, 14, 32–47.
Gillespie, F. (1998). Instructional design for the new technologies. In K. H. Gillespie (Ed.), The impact of technology on faculty development, life, and-work (pp. 39–52): Vol. 76. New directions for teaching and learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Gordon, S. (1999, April). An instrument for exploring students’ approaches to learning statistics. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (ERIC Document Reproductive Service No. ED440142).
Hadley, N. (1998). The effects of technology support systems on achievement and attitudes on pre-service teachers. Dissertation Abstracts International, 59, 4044A. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ADG 9914276).
Knowlton, D. S. (2000). A theoretical framework for the online classroom: A defense and delineation of a student-centered pedagogy. In R. E. Weiss (Ed.), Principles of effective teaching in the online classpetom: Vol. 84. New directions for teaching and learning (pp. 5–14). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Mclsaac, M., Blocher, J., Mahes, V., & Vrasidas, C. (1999). Student and teacher perceptions of interaction in online computer-mediated communication. Educational Media International, 36, 121–131.
McMahon, M., & Oliver, R. (2001, June). Promoting self-regulated learning in an on-line environment. Proceedings from the ED-Media World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications, Tampere, Finland. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED466194).
McMillan, J. H. (2001, April). Some pedagogical tips for teaching statistics. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Seattle, WA. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED453251).
Morelos-Borja, H. (1999). Partner-finder: A framework to study peer collaborations in a web-based education. Dissertation Abstracts International, 60, 3373B. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ADG 9939122).
O’Hanlon, N. (2001). Development, delivery, and outcomes of a distance course for new college students. Library Trends, 50, 8–27.
Oathout, M. J. (1995, April). College students’ theory of learning introductory statistics: Phase one. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED391841).
Paulsen, K., Higgins, K., Miller, S., Strawser, S., & Boone, R. (1998). Delivering instruction via interactive television and videotape: Student achievement and satisfaction. Journal of Special Education Technology, 13, 59–77.
Phipps, R., & Merisotis, J. (1999). What’s the difference: A review of contemporary research on the effectiveness of distance learning in higher education. Washington, DC: Institute for Higher Education Policy.
Rintala, J. (1998). Computer technology in higher education: An experiment, not a solution. Quest, 50, 366–378.
Rumpradit, C. (1999). An evaluation of the effect of user interface elements and user learning styles on user performance, confidence, and satisfaction on the World Wide Web. Dissertation Abstracts International, 60, 10A. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ADG 9918516).
Russell, T. (1999). The no significant difference phenomenon. Chapel Hill, NC: Office of Instructional Telecommunications, University of North Carolina.
Scanlon, E., & Morris, E. (2000, April). Design features in computer supported learning environments for teaching statistics to psychology students. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED443408).
Schrum, L. (1998). On-line education: A study of emerging pedagogy. In B. Cahoon (Ed.), Adult learning and the internet (pp 53–61): Vol. 78. New directions for adult and continuing education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Sharpe, T., Harper, W., & Brown, S. (1998). In response: Further reflections on technology, science, and culture. Quest, 50, 332–343.
Sharpe, T., & Hawkins, A. (1998). Technology and the information age: A cautionary tale for higher education. Quest, 50, 19–32.
Sonwalkar, N. (2002). A new methodology for evaluation: The pedagogical rating of online courses. Syllabus, 15, 18–21.
Sutarso, T. (1992a, November). Some variables in relation to students’ anxiety in learning statistics. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Mid-South Educational Research Association. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED353334).
Sutarso, T. (1992b, November). Students’attitudes toward statistics (STATS). Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Mid-South Educational Research Association. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED353316).
University of Washington, Office of Educational Assessment (1998). Instructional assessment system, general description. Report retrieved March 19, 2003, from http://www.washington.edu/oea/describe.htm
Vrasidas, C., & Mclsaac, M. S. (2000). Principles of pedagogy and evaluation for web-based learning. Education Media International, 37, 105–111.
Wilkins, B., & Barrett, J. (2000). The virtual construction site: a web-based teaching/learning environment in construction technology. Automation in Construction, 10, 169–179.
Wisenbaker, J. M., & Douzenis, C. (2000, April). Web-based statistical readings for an introductory statistics course. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA. (ERIC Document Reproduction Services No. ED441812).
Jessica J. Summers and Tiffany A. Whittaker are Assistant Professors, and Alexander Waigandt is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology at the University of Missouri–Columbia. Dr. Summers holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include the study of social contexts of motivation, academic classroom community, and cooperative learning. Dr. Waigandt holds a Ph.D. in Community and School Health from the University of Oregon. His primary research interest is in demographic analysis. Dr. Whittaker holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include model selection methods in structural equation modeling and multiple regression, interpretation of score reports in computer-based testing, and the effects of missing data on the recovery of item and person parameters in the item response theory framework.
About this article
Cite this article
Summers, J.J., Waigandt, A. & Whittaker, T.A. A Comparison of Student Achievement and Satisfaction in an Online Versus a Traditional Face-to-Face Statistics Class. Innov High Educ 29, 233–250 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10755-005-1938-x
- distance learning
- student satisfaction
- statistics instruction
- online course development