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Remote Learning: Home

Remote Learning

This guide contains information and resources for students and faculty working in remote environments. 


The United States Deparment of Education (DoE) conducted a meta-analysis and review of online learning studies in September 2010. This study reviewed more than a thousand studies that contrasted an online to a face-to-face condition and measured student learning outcomes.

  1. How does the effectiveness of online learning compare with that of face-to-face instruction?
  2. Does supplementing face-to-face instruction with online instruction enhance learning?
  3. What practices are associated with more effective online learning?, and
  4. What conditions influence the effectiveness of online learning?

The meta-analysis found that students in online conditions performed modestly better, on average, than those learning the same material through traditional face-to-face instruction.

Scholarly Articles

Faculty Best Practices to Support Students in the ‘Virtual Doctoral Land.’ A literature search was completed on online learning and medical education since 1993. Five major themes were found:

a.Provision of timely and good-quality feedback

b.Providing continuous support and promoting peer-to-peer facilitation,

c.Pairing of new and experienced faculties

d.Providing supportive mentoring to students, and

e.Developing sensitivity to cultural issues, that could influence successful online doctoral study. 

This was the first systemic review of literature that explores faculty best practices. With this article, we can establish important areas to support the study of online students.

Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching completed a report giving many statistics on online courses, as well as the excellent

  1. Protentional benefits of online education,
  2. How to organize a course, and
  3. How to facilitate online education.

Most importantly, the Vanderbilt study found the researchers emphasized the findings “do not demonstrate that online learning is superior as a medium…It was the combination of elements in the treatment conditions (which was likely to have included additional learning time and materials as well as additional opportunities for collaboration) that produced the observed learning advantages” (p. xviii, original emphasis). In other words, it’s important for the instructor to create an interactive, supportive, and collaborative learning environment for students to reap the potential benefits afforded by online learning. Specific tips for facilitating an effective blended or online class can be found in the good practices section of this teaching guide.

PubMed Resources

Face-to-face or face-to-screen? Undergraduates' opinions and test performance in classroom vs. online learning.” The University of Tasmania Department of Psychology acknowledges that in this changing environment, studies were needed to be done on best practices and resources for virtual learners/instructors. There were many themes found, but some of them are:

  1. Wider contributions: discussion allowed contributions from a greater range of people than a class discussion, in which shyer students sometimes stayed quiet in the presence of their more outspoken peers, for example, Discussion not dominated by loud, confident people.
  2. More detailed responses: Students also noted that the online discussion forum encouraged more detailed responses than in-class discussion (where conversational turns were typically shorter, but more frequent, than in writing), as in the response, I thought it was good to be able to read everyone’s experiences with full details, as time restraints in class don’t allow for each individual to thoroughly go through their task.
  3. More time to think: Some students noted that providing responses online gave them more time to consider their answers than having to speak spontaneously in class.
  4. Faster to type: It was noted that it was faster to provide answers to the test when it was typed online than handwritten in the classroom.
  5. Less judgment: Finally, some students felt less judged by their tutor and peers when answers could be written than spoken.
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