University of Granada (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 44-46
ISBN: 978-84-616-0763-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 19-21 November, 2012
Location: Madrid, Spain
The aim of this study is to assess the influence that the teaching-learning paradigm has upon the academic performance of students studying the subject Nutrition and Ageing. This subject is one of those offered on a free-choice basis to all the students at the University of Granada. When these subjects were first offered in 1999 they required student-teacher contact; in 2003-4 they became partially virtual, requiring only 50% direct contact. Since 2006-7 all these subjects have come to form part of the Campus Andaluz Virtual with 100% of the teaching-learning process being conducted on-line.

When taught as a conventional direct-contact subject Nutrition and Ageing could admit a maximum of 50 students, 75 students in its semi-virtual form and 100 as a completely virtual course. Both the theoretical and practical contents have stayed the same in its three different modes but assessment methods have changed along the way. With the conventional and semi-virtual paradigms there was a practical examination and mid-year and final exams based upon short questions, whilst with the completely virtual paradigm the students are subject to continuous assessment during which they are marked on activities, a multiple-choice test and participation in academic forums on each theme within the subject as a whole.

A total of 933 students have opted to study this subject during the 13 years it has been on offer. Except for one year, 86% of the places on the course have been filled. During the conventional phase requiring student presence the drop-out rate was 39.9%, rising to 45.8% during the semi-virtual phase, but falling considerably to 17.1% in its present completely virtual mode.

When the results of both the June and September examinations are taken into account the pass rate has been 100%. This may be attributed to the fact that, although there were failures in June, this being a free-choice subject, the students who failed dropped it rather than sitting the repeat exams in September.

As far as the success rate is concerned, the average rate during the conventional teaching phase was 62.8%, falling somewhat to 54.9% when the teaching mode was semi-virtual, but rising substantially to 82.5% during the recent completely virtual paradigm. In the light of these results it may be fairly concluded that free-choice subjects are easier to follow when presented to the student in a virtual mode than in a direct-contact academic mode.
Nutrition, ageing, e-learning.