The Impact of Online or F2F Lecture Choice on Student Achievement and Engagement in a Large Lecture-Based Science Course: Closing the Gap

Cheryl A. Murphy, John C. Stewart


Blended learning options vary and universities are exploring an assortment of instructional combinations, some involving video lectures as a replacement for face-to-face (f2f) lectures. This methodological study investigates the impact of the provision of lecture choice (online or f2f) on overall student achievement and course engagement. This research uses a within-group design to obtain baseline data on a single set of physics students (n=168), and investigates the impact of providing a lecture viewing choice (online, f2f) mid-semester on student achievement (tests, homework, and standardized conceptual evaluation scores), and course engagement (student lecture viewing, homework submissions, bonus project submissions, and note taking behaviors). The study reveals that the type of lecture does not serve to significantly impact overall student achievement or engagement. However, although recorded and f2f lectures demonstrate an overall educationally equivalent impact, students who elect a high level of recorded lecture use were significantly lower performing and less engaged before the option to watch recorded lectures was introduced and largely continued to be so after the option was introduced, but there was evidence of a reduction in achievement and engagement differences after the option is introduced. Therefore, results of this study suggest weaker performing students self-select higher levels of recorded lecture use, and the use of these video lectures may assist this specific group of students in closing the gap between themselves and students who were initially higher performing and more engaged.


Video; lecture; achievement; engagement

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