Washington, Mar 25 : A new study from a University of Houston Department of Health and Human Performance has revealed that college students are scoring higher grades through computers and Internet based 'hybrid classes' rather than traditional methods.
The study led by Brian McFarlin has found that students in a "hybrid class" incorporating instructional technology with in-class lectures scored a letter-grade higher on average than their counterparts who took the same class in a more traditional format.
McFarlin assessed the student's involvement and academic performance of a traditional class Kinesiology 3306 from fall 2004 to fall 2005 and compared it with the assessment of students in the hybrid class, offered as an alternative from summer 2006 to fall 2007.
"One reason we offered the hybrid class in the first place was because students said they wanted it," he said.
"Their formal evaluations of the class indicated the traditional class didn't take advantage of instructional technologies available, and that these technologies could give them additional help and access to course material outside of class time," he added.
McFarlin conducted a traditional kinesiology class twice a week for a 90-minute lecture in a large auditorium where he used Microsoft PowerPoint slides with Flash media to present course material.
His hybrid class met once a week for a traditional 90-minute lecture, but augmented the lesson with various forms of instructional technologies. The second lecture each week was administered by WebCT, an online venue for students to review course material.
He also narrated material for upcoming lectures using Articulate Studio software, so students could prepare for the next class at their own pace.
"One major advantage of the Articulate software is that it enhances the appearance of standard PowerPoint files by allowing the course designer to add self-test questions, provide a search function and a navigation menu," said McFarlin.
"Once students completed the online lecture, they were required to take a WebCT quiz on the material. The majority of students scored between 90 and 100 percent.
"Final grades in the hybrid class were on average a letter grade higher than those in the traditional format," he said.
"Students could choose a content delivery method that matched their style, so we believe they were better able to comprehend the material," he added.
In addition, comments in evaluations indicated students preferred the self-paced nature of the hybrid class.
The study is published in the journal Advances in Physiology Education.