What Can Online Learning Do For Students That Face-to-Face Learning Cannot?

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Before the COVID-19 pandemic, online education was viewed by some as an “alternative” to a traditional face-to-face (F2F) college experience (Mitchell & Geva-May, 2009) – a way for students to access education who might not be able to otherwise. Online learning was therefore viewed by some as a viable but perhaps lower quality educational option (Allen & Seaman, 2006; Mitchell & Geva-May, 2009). With the sharp pivot to remote instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic, opportunities for online learning continue to evolve and attitudes towards online education may be shifting. Beyond being viewed as an “alternative” pathway, online education may offer students benefits that can, in some ways, exceed traditional learning environments. 

This webinar will reveal the preliminary results of a qualitative study where online instructors with varying levels of experience in teaching online were asked to respond to the question, “How does online learning provide specific benefits to students that traditional classrooms don’t?”. The preliminary results of this analysis, which yielded several major themes in the benefits of online learning (e.g., flexibility, diversity, and course design) will be discussed, along with practical implications for students, faculty, and instructional designers.

Intended Audience: 

Faculty, Instructional Support, Training Professionals, Administrators, Design Thinkers, and Researchers

Key Takeaways:

By attending this session, attendees will be able to: 

  1. Describe select benefits of online learning as identified by faculty with a range of online teaching experience
  2. Describe ways in which the perceptions of these benefits vary based on online teaching experience
  3. Discuss at least two ways these preliminary findings can be applied to online education through student support, faculty development, and/or course design
Speaker Bio


Naomi Aguiar, PhD
Assistant Director of Research – Oregon State University Ecampus

Naomi Aguiar, PhD is the Assistant Director of Research for Oregon State University Ecampus. She is involved in designing and conducting research studies on online teaching and learning and producing tools to promote research literacy. She also directs the Research Fellows Program that provides support for faculty research on online education. Her background is in developmental psychology and in communication sciences, with a specialization in qualitative and quantitative methodologies, survey design, and statistical analysis.

Nadia Jaramillo
Oregon State University Ecampus

Bio coming soon