An Evaluation of Student Outcomes by Course Duration in Online Higher Education
To facilitate student learning and ensure financial stability, leaders in higher education institutions offering online degrees and programs are adopting flexible course schedules with shorter terms. The literature does not include many evaluations demonstrating how shorter duration terms and courses might affect student achievement. In this quantitative study, data were gathered from six online courses. While the courses were identical in content and number of assignments, half were taught in a 16-week format while the others were taught in an 8-week format. Results show there was no statistical difference in student achievement or engagement between either course duration. These results are potentially encouraging for institutions looking to offer shorter duration courses to meet student enrollment needs and student preferences. Accelerating the number of courses a student can complete by shortening the duration of the term also benefits the institution by facilitating financial stability. Recommendations for further study include examining graduate and doctoral courses as well as face-to-face courses to ensure that results are generalizable to those contexts.
Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration