Chickering and Gamsonâ€™s notable summary of the best practices of undergraduate teaching include promoting active learning, cooperation, and studentâ€“faculty contact. The present study hypothesized that online delivery of lecture prior to course meetings allows more in-class time to achieve these goals. Students in a control group received a traditional, oral, lecture-style class with supplementing PowerPoint presentation, whereas students in a treatment group received online presentation of the same lecture script and PowerPoint presentation prior to coming to class; the treatment groupâ€™s in-class time was devoted to group activities and discussion of material. Learning and retention were assessed by student performance on a series of multiple-choice tests and quizzes given throughout the semester. Results indicate that students in the treatment condition scored significantly higher on most measures than did students in the control condition. Through strong control of experimental conditions, this study departs from many previous investigations of the benefits of online delivery as an adjunct to seated class time in an introductory social science course, highlighting its advantages such as freeing class time for those activities and strategies deemed to be best practices. The implications of these results and limitations to the study are discussed.
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