Online Learning in Biology: An Investigation into Designing Online Learning Resources

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Ford, William
East Tennessee State University
mass communication; instructional design; higher education; science education; evolution; online learning; Online and Distance Education; Science and Mathematics Education
thesis / dissertation description
As technology continues to advance, many instructors are incorporating online activities into their courses. While online learning has several benefits, there is still debate on how instructors can best develop and utilize these resources in their classroom. This study is split into two smaller projects that both aim to provide further insights on how to develop online activities that target undergraduate biology students. The first project revealed that elaborative feedback in a phylogenetic activity was more useful for students who had some exposure to phylogenetics prior to completing the activity. The results of the second project revealed that the appearance of two simulations’ user interfaces does not have a significant effect on learning outcomes. However, many students responded that these simulations did increase their understanding of the concepts, indicating simulations can play an important role in the biology classroom.