Home » 2019 Spring » Teaching with Technology Spring 2019 Meeting 1

Teaching with Technology Spring 2019 Meeting 1

Teaching with Technology FIG

Meeting 1 of Spring 2019 Semester- April 2 and April 3, 2019


We discussed the article, Gavassa, S., Benebentos, R,. Kravec, M., Colllins, T., and Eddy ,S. 2019.  “Closing the Achievement Gap in a Large Introductory Course by Balancing Reduced In-Person Contact with Increased Course Structure” CBE-Life Sciences Education 18ar8: 1-10


The study compared a three delivery formats, online, face-to-face and hybrid, of a General Biology course at a large Hispanic serving institution. Course structure was defined as the presence of pre-class assignments, in class engagement (clicker questions) and review assignments.  The hybrid format had all three of the aforementioned structure elements.  The online course did not have in class engagement; the face-to-face course did not have required pre class assignments. Student performance was measured using the course exams.  Linear regression analysis was performed to determine if course format could be correlated with exam performance. The regression model predicted performance using SAT Math score, course format, college level and race ethnicity as control and predictive variables and examined interaction between course format and race/ethnicity.

The findings were:

  • SAT math score predicted variation in student performance.
  • No difference between male and female performance after accounting for SAT Math score
  • College level was a predictor of exam performance with juniors & seniors out performing freshmen and sophomores
  • Comparing performance of Hispanic students, those in the hybrid format scored higher than those in the f2f or online formats
  • Black students had the lowest exam scores in all three formats
  • Hybrid format had the highest scores for all racial/ethnic groups. Only the online format had significant differences based on race/ethnic groups.  Black and Hispanic students had the highest scores in the hybrid format; whites students had the highest scores in the hybrid and online formats


Discussion questions

  1. Even though the f2f format had the most contact time, it resulted in the lowest performance. Why do you think this is so?

Possibly, students presume lecture is a passive activity whereas for online assignments, they invest more time.

In the study, most of the students in the f2f version were freshmen and sophomores, probably with less time management skills than juniors and seniors. This might explain why the online and hybrid format, which was dominated by juniors and seniors, had better performance.

  1. Why do you think the hybrid format was the most successful?

In the study, the course was highly structured and required students to complete pre class work, engage in in class activities and complete a post class assessment.



We shared the items we include in our classes (both f2f and online) that make them highly structured.  They included:

  • A “start here” tab on BB that explains how to navigate the course site and find material
  • A course calendar that includes all of the semester’s work and due dates
  • Having assignments due on the same day and at the same time each week, particular for online submissions.
  • Pre class quizzes on readings. Students are given multiple attempts so they continue to review course content.

We also shared items that makes classes engaging (in class as well as online:

In class

  • Discussions
  • Group work
  • Clicker questions using poll everywhere or Socrative: although these questions are engaging for students, they do required a strong wifi connection in classrooms, which we do not have. Students are reluctant to use their data plan.

Online Versions

  • Discussion forums
  • Group work using the groups feature of Blackboard
  • Having students watch videos and use other multimedia instead of reading text

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *