Publication Date

Fall 2015

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Barbara Burch, (Director) Kristin Wilson, & Rob Wyatt

Degree Program

Educational Leadership Doctoral Program

Degree Type

Doctor of Education


There is a bias that online lab science courses are inferior to their campus counterparts. Even so there is an increasing demand for online courses by the student body. The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine whether anatomy and physiology I could be taught online without affecting academic rigor through a comparison of the successful completion of student learning outcomes, as well as to learn more about the students who take A&P. The study sought to identify the causes or relationships that exist between online and face-to-face presentation of A&PI. It also considered retention related to the independent variables of online or face-to-face presentation. There was no significant difference in the assessment scores between the online and face-to-face sections of A&PI. When the assessment was broken down into lab delivery method the students who used a lab kit scored the same as those on campus; students who used virtual labs scored lower but not significantly so. Additionally the survey indicated that online students tended to be older and that older students score higher on the assessment. Online students also have more commitments outside of the classroom in terms of children at home and hours worked outside the home. Online students were more than twice as likely to work in the medical field. In terms of academic background and preparation there were very few differences between the online and face-to-face student in terms of remedial course work, college xv GPA, ACT scores, and course load, although the online students have almost twice as many credit hours then the face-to-face students. There were also differences in the reasons the students choose a particular course format. The online students scored higher in all student satisfaction measures. There were no differences in attrition in between online and face-to-face sections although at one-third of the students it was very high. This study can help to focus the debate on proper advising of students. Although online may not be the best learning platform for all students, that does not mean that it is not an effective means of teaching laboratory science.


Educational Leadership | Online and Distance Education