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What is the optimum duration of an asynchronous distance learning course?

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Description An online, lecture/laboratory course in Human Physiology was run in two sections in five consecutive summers. In each year, the two sections were identical in content, assignments, and assessments but were different in duration; the shorter section was 1 mo and the longer section lasted 2 mo. The shorter section had a higher enrollment and a higher attrition rate. A postcourse survey revealed that the majority of the students in the shorter course believed that they would have spent more time studying and would have received a better grade had they taken the longer class. Interestingly, in any one year, there was no significant difference between the mean final grades earned by students in the two sections and by males and females. All students who completed the longer section and the majority of students in the shorter section of the course stated that they would recommend the longer class to a friend who was committed to taking this online course.
Type of Resource Journal Article/Issue
Format Web Page - HTML
Philip Stephens, Villanova University
Development Date June 1, 2012
Grade/Age Levels Undergraduate lower division (Grades 13-14)
Undergraduate upper division (Grades 15-16)
Professional (degree program)
Continuing Education
Informal Education
Related Research Paper Advan. Physiol. Edu. 35: 178-187, 2011
Learning Time <=1 hour
Language English
Type of Review Reviewed By Journal Board
Review Date Reviewed at time of publication
Suggested Use