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A mix of in-person and online learning may boost student performance, reduce anxiety

June 20, 2018

(Madison, Wis.) June 20, 2018--Before online learning existed, the traditional lecture format was the only option for college courses. Students who skipped class risked missing out on valuable information presented in-person. Researchers from the University of Iowa found that online content presentation accompanied by weekly interactive class meetings--a "blended" course format--may improve academic achievement in students at risk for failing. In addition, fewer students withdrew from the class when the content was presented in a blended format. The findings will be presented today at the American Physiological Society (APS) Institute on Teaching and Learning in Madison, Wis.

Traditional lecture and online learning course delivery formats tend to flow in one direction only: The instructor delivers content to students. "The blended course structure we utilized facilitated bidirectional information flow, fostering conversations not only between the instructor and students but among the students themselves (peer learning)," said Jennifer Rogers, PhD, first author of the study.

"Greater than 95 percent of students enrolled in the blended course section earned course grades [of] C- or higher, compared with 82 percent in the large lecture sections and 81 percent in the online sections," Rogers added. Furthermore, students who chose the blended format reported less end-of-semester anxiety than those who studied solely online, suggesting that there might be additional value in face-to-face engagement with faculty.

Rogers, associate professor of instruction at the University of Iowa, will present "Course delivery format, content knowledge and motivation factors in undergraduate human physiology" in a poster session on Wednesday, June 20, at the Madison Concourse Hotel.
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NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: The third Institute on Teaching and Learning will be held June 18-22 in Madison, Wis. To schedule an interview with the conference organizers or presenters, contact the communications@the-aps.org APS Communications Office or 301-634-7209. Find more research highlights in the APS Press Room.

Physiology is the study of how molecules, cells, tissues and organs function in health and disease. Established in 1887, the American Physiological Society (APS) was the first U.S. society in the biomedical sciences field. The Society represents more than 10,500 members and publishes 15 peer-reviewed journals with a worldwide readership.

American Physiological Society

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