In 2007, a USDA Higher Education Challenge Grant funded the creation of a Virtual Education Center (VEC) for Biorenewable Resources at three partner land grant institutions. Three new courses are taught through the VEC, each using multiple instructors and exchanges of video lectures between sites. The most heavily subscribed of these is a graduate survey course entitled Fundamentals of Biorenewable Resources. In this paper, we report on comparisons of two online delivery methods used in the fundamentals course: 1) a standard video lecture using a tablet computer, and 2) a self-contained menu-driven autotutorial presentations (MDAP) delivered via Adobe Flash. In both cases, the module covered production of corn, soybean, hay and forage, and short rotation woody crops, as well as biotechnology basics. The two versions contained nearly identical academic content. The module was taught during weeks 9 to 11 of the course, allowing students to be sorted based on prior course performance to ensure the two groups were academically similar. Student performance data from the course were collected through WebCT assessments (quizzes and an exam) in spring 2010 and statistical analysis was used to determine student learning differences.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/raj_raman/18/