A COMPARISON OF STUDENT PERFORMANCE BETWEEN FACE-TO-FACE AND EXTERNAL STUDIES (ON-LINE) MODES
University of Western Sydney (AUSTRALIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:The University of Western Sydney has been running a specialist, undergraduate business degree program in Property (primarily Property Valuation, Property Investment and Property Development) for over 30 years and an external (non-face-to-face) offering of this program for 25 years. Over this period, the delivery of both the internal and external course modes has changed considerably; mainly due to changes in computer technology and software and the practice of providing students with increasing amounts of material on-line. Whereas external students were once provided with more comprehensive notes (to partially compensate for their lack of face-to-face contact with both staff and their student peers), the increasing use of on-line resources has meant that today, the main difference between internal and external study is the lack of the more personal face-to-face contact for external students. Even this distinction may disappear in the not too distant future. The convergence of material and content has been more rapid in recent years.
This paper seeks to examine the difference in performance of students studying in different modes over the last decade. It looks at the results in one subject, Statistics for Business, which is a core subject both in the Property program and in the University’s undergraduate business programs generally. Average annual enrolments are in excess of 1000 per year for the subject; in excess of 150 per year for property students and 30 per year for external property students. As such, it permits a comparison of:
• business students studying internally;
• business students studying part-time (evening);
• property students studying internally; and
• property students studying externally.
The paper shows that while the numbers of external Property students is not large, there are, however, significant differences in their performance compared to other student cohorts in terms of their final marks and grades.
The paper examines these differences and puts forward a number of recommendations and some possible areas for further study.
Keywords: External studies, student performance, mark and grade distributions.