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On-Campus and Online Experience Will Never Be the Same, but Learning Outcomes Can Be

Session Overview

This video was part of the July 2020 REMOTE: The Connected Faculty Summit

A significant concern in the design of online course and curricula is the extent to which the online experience should be as equivalent as possible to the corresponding on campus experience. Equivalency theory, however, suggests that very different course and program formats can be created that provide the flexibility required for online students, without compromising their learning outcomes. In other words, the goal of designing online courses and curricula should be equivalent outcomes rather than equivalent experiences. We have tested this idea in the context of our online biochemistry BS degree program. A unique concentrated laboratory course was created for online students that was identical to the traditional semester-long course, except that it was conducted over only 3.5 days. The online students scored higher in all of the assessed outcomes compared to the conventional students in the conventional course.


Ian Gould

President’s Professor; Interim Director, Arizona State University

Ian Gould is President’s Professor in the School of Molecular Sciences at Arizona State University. He joined ASU in 1998. He has more than 125 refereed publications and an H-index over 45. Current research interests are in organic geochemistry and geochemically inspired green organic chemistry. He also has research programs in understanding student performance in organic chemistry courses and is developing an intelligent online tutoring system for organic chemistry in collaboration with ASU Professor Kurt VanLehn.

Ara Austin

Clinical Assistant Professor; Managing Director of Online Programs, Arizona State University

Dr. Ara Austin received her B.S. in Biochemistry and Minors in Psychology and Communication Studies in 2011 and Ph.D. in Chemistry Education in 2018, all from Arizona State University. Since 2012, her work has been dedicated to analyzing the effects of socio-cognitive (motivation and self-regulation) and socio-cultural (instructor gender effects, stereotype threat, and cultural/social capital) factors on student performance in organic chemistry courses at ASU and also at University of Rochester. Her genuine passion is to help all students achieve success in their academic endeavors, and she currently oversees all online programs at the School of Molecular Sciences.