A comparison of instructional delivery models for teaching mathematics at the college level
McCallum, Michael Edwin
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The introduction of the personal computer in the late 1970’s, the creation of the World Wide Web, and other forces within higher education, such as pressures to reduce operating and capital budgets and to reach a more diverse student population, have all combined in recent years to engender the development of other course models to challenge the traditional semester-length course model. This dissertation is a report of research comparing two alternative instructional delivery models used for mathematics instruction at a major proprietary institute of higher learning with the traditional semester length instructional delivery model. Both of the alternative models are described in the literature as “intensive” models. One model, the compressed model, uses only classroom instruction and the other, the accelerated model, is a hybrid model having an online component utilizing a web-based course management system. Both models have an eight-week duration. The research methodology used is primarily qualitative using interviews and classroom observations. Quantitative methods, such as embedded test item results and course final grades, were used to evaluate instructional outcomes. The overarching research question was; how do these models compare to one-another in terms of student learning, student satisfaction, instructional delivery, and instructor satisfaction? The research shows each instructional delivery model has advantages when compared to the others. The traditional 15-week model is advantageous for teaching mathematics to college students with weak mathematics backgrounds or to older students who have not been in school for several years and are finally continuing their education. The research found that the learning outcomes for the compressed and accelerated models were significantly better for the population studied compared to the learning outcomes for the standard model. The major advantage of the accelerated model is the model requires less classroom time for instructional delivery, which enables better utilization of classroom space to better serve growing student populations without adding additional space.