Comparative Evaluation of Distance and On Campus Education: Is the Deck StackedReport as inadecuate

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Evaluations of the effectiveness of distance education courses may be influenced by differences between students who choose to take distance versus on-campus courses. At Utah State University, surveys were completed by 28 students who were enrolled in or had completed distance-education courses in the Special Education program and 39 students enrolled in similar classes on campus. The most notable differences between the groups were in age and family composition. Mean average age was 22 on campus and 43 off campus. One-quarter of campus students were married, but only 2 had children; 89 percent of distance students were married, and 75 percent had children. Most students in both groups worked, but on-campus students were generally employed part-time. Over 85 percent of distance students worked full-time, and two-thirds worked in the public schools, primarily as teachers or paraprofessionals. Forty percent of the distance students and none of the campus students already had a bachelor's or master's degree. Almost all students were female and white. Implications for comparative evaluations are discussed. (SV)

Descriptors: Distance Education, Education Majors, Higher Education, Preservice Teacher Education, Special Education, Student Characteristics

Author: Hinds, John



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