Comparing Online and Face-to-Face Presentation of Course Content in an Introductory Special Education Course

Document Type


SoTL Category

Blended Learning

SoTL Discipline


Publication Date



Instructional content was presented differently in two introductory special education course sections. In a face-to-face (f2f) section, the instructor met with students on regularly scheduled days and times and presented content in person. In the other section, content was presented using enhanced podcasts, consisting of the instructor narrating while PowerPoint slides and other visuals were shown in flash movies that students could download from the Internet at days and times of their choosing. All other aspects of these two class sections were the same. Although data associated with student achievement and student satisfaction were slightly more favorable for the f2f section, the discrepancies may have been related to demographic differences in the student populations of the two sections. Measures of student engagement were slightly higher for the online section. Implications of findings are discussed in relation to teaching and learning in courses with large enrollments that are focused primarily on developing knowledge-based competencies.


This article was published in The Journal of the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children. (2012). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0888406412441627