In the present action-research study, we illustrate an evidence-based response of educators to the widespread concerns that learning in undergraduate students accustomed to face-to-face courses might have been curtailed during the pandemic by the switch to online instruction. The study focuses on general education courses, which usually enroll freshmen and sophomores. Namely, it targets learners who may be particularly sensitive to instructional changes due to their being at the early stages of their educational journey. Grades in seven general education courses taught by the same instructors for 3 semesters both face-to-face and online (through the synchronous mode) were examined. We found that female students performed better online than face-to-face in four courses (i.e., Culture, Natural Science, Math, and Wellness), whereas their performance was equivalent in the remaining courses (Communication, Assessment, and Professional Competencies). Male students also performed better online in Math and Natural Science courses, but they exhibited better performance in Culture, Wellness, and Professional Competency courses taught face-to-face. In this study, basic indices of uneven performance between male and female students were used as a springboard for further analyses into the sources of students’ responses to instructional changes. Course evaluations completed by students and course reports developed by instructors were relied upon to understand learners’ performance. The evidence collected indicated that female students were more likely to adapt to instructional changes than male students, suggesting enhanced resilience fueled by a greater determination to attain academic success. A plan to address deficient performance was then developed.
Omar J. El-Moussa, Prince Mohammad University, Saudi Arabia
Maura A. E. Pilotti, Prince Mohammad University, Saudi Arabia
Hanadi Abdelsalam, Prince Mohammad University, Saudi Arabia