Online students : relationships between participation, demographics and academic performance
Coldwell, Jo, Craig, Annemieke, Paterson, T. and Mustard, Jamie 2008, Online students : relationships between participation, demographics and academic performance, Electronic journal of e-learning, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 19-30.
Using information technology to support teaching and learning is becoming ubiquitous in tertiary education. However, how students participate and perform when a major component of the learning experience is conducted via an online learning environment is still an open question. The objective of this study was to investigate whether any relationships existed between the participation, demographics and academic performance of students in an information technology course that was taught wholly online. Tracking data generated by the online learning environment was collected throughout the semester. Through a detailed analysis of this tracking data it was found that a relationship existed between students' participation in the online learning environment and their performance, as measured by final results in the course. Relationships also existed between gender, nationality, participation and performance. However, there was no relationship between age and performance and participation. These findings suggest that when designing online learning for a diverse population, student demographics should be taken into account to maximise the benefits of the learning experience. The results also suggest that the tracking data can be used as an early indicator of students who are likely to fail the course since lack of participation early in the semester is indicative of lower outcomes in the course. Being able to identify such students allows staff to take remedial action proactively rather than reactively in the latter part of the semester.
Field of Research
089999 Information and Computing Sciences not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category
C3 Non-refereed articles in a professional journal
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