Making Content Connections: issues in the use of Print Versus Digital Course Content
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Recent program changes in an online graduate program created questions regarding the delivery of materials in distance education programs. One hundred and thirty-seven students responded to a survey regarding the difference between print and electronic text-based learning material. Findings indicate that the medium in which the content is presented to the learner has a bearing on the scope and shape of the learning experience. To place all material online may alienate some students, duplicating material in both print and digital media may become cumbersome and expensive, and remaining exclusively print-based may be viewed as ‘old-fashioned’, and technologically inadequate. Other research suggests online students should be given the option of a printer-friendly version for all electronic material (Spencer, 2006). On the other hand, Smith (2001) suggests the task is not to match delivery methods to student preferences, but to encourage students to leave their comfort zones and to provide breadth of instructional methods and materials. This session will allow for presentation of findings and facilitated discussion about this important issue in online course delivery.