A comparison of traditional and web-based floral design courses



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Texas A&M University


As technology has advanced, corporations, government entities, and institutions of higher education have all begun experimenting with online classes and training. In colleges and universities around the world, everything from individual online classes to entire online degree programs are now offered. While many researchers and educators support this trend, many are concerned with whether online education is truly comparable to traditional, live instruction. The goal of this study was to evaluate an online version of a floral design course in comparison to the traditional version of the class. There were 140 students in the sample, including both the online and traditional classes. All were students at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. During the spring semester of 2003, the experimental group was enrolled in the online version of the course, while the control group was enrolled in the traditional version of the course. Students in both groups were asked to fill out surveys at the beginning and end of the semester to collect background information and to evaluate the course. Their floral designs were evaluated at the beginning and end of the class in order to measure design skill, and grades earned in the class were also collected at the end of the semester for comparison purposes. Statistically significant differences were noted in class grades, with traditional students outperforming the Web-based students in lecture points, lab points, and overall course grades. No statistically significant differences were noted in terms of student course satisfaction. In addition, students in the traditional class outperformed Web-based students in design skills. Besides class differences in performance, variables such as gender and distance course preparedness seemed to affect the outcome of some measures. Overall, females outperformed males in both classes. In the Web-based class, students found to be more prepared for distance learning courses fared better than students who were not as prepared. These results may indicate that certain students may do better in an online course than others, and it may be possible to screen these students in advance in order to maximize success in the online classroom.