Impacts of college-level courses via Asynchronous Learning Networks: Some Preliminary Results

Starr Roxanne Hiltz


New Jersey Institute of Technology has been delivering college courses via an Asynchronous Learning Network (ALN) system called the Virtual ClassroomTM for a decade, using various media mixes. Currently, two complete undergraduate degree programs are available via a mix of video plus Virtual Classroom, the B.A. in Information Systems and the B.S. in Computer Science. This paper presents preliminary findings about impacts on students, and touches on some issues and potential impacts for faculty, individual universities, and the structure of higher education. Overall ratings of courses by students who complete ALN based courses are equal or superior to those for traditional courses. Dropout or Incomplete outcomes are somewhat more prevalent, while grade distributions for those who complete tend to be similar to those for traditional courses. For both students and faculty, more startup time devoted to solving the "logistics" of ALN delivery seems to be required at the beginning of courses. ALN delivery is not just a "different" way of doing the same thing, however; it is likely to change the nature and structure of higher education.


Virtual Classroom,ALN,Collaborative Learning,Computer Mediated Communication,Computers and Education

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