The role of demographics on student performance in online and face-to-face courses of higher education

Document Type


Publication Date



face-to-face learning, online learning, higher education


As technology has evolved within our society so has the integration of online alternatives to face-to-face learning within institutions of higher education. The growth of the virtual education platform has led many researchers to wonder if it is equivalent to traditional teaching methods. While the idea of whether or not a performance gap exists between the online and face-to-face media of the same course is well-researched, the results vary. As such, this study aims not only to determine if a performance gap exists but also how student demographics (gender, ethnicity, ACT scores, financial aid reception) influence student performance within either medium. The data will include final grade percentages of students completing multiple online and face-to-face sections of PHGY 220 either at the University of South Dakota Community College for Sioux Falls or the Vermillion main campus. After obtaining the data, authorized faculty members will ensure it is combined to form one data pool, examined for instances of course repeat, and then de-identified. I will then analyze the relationship between the distribution of final grade percentages for both course versions and various demographic factors. I feel this study will play an important role in establishing a replicable procedure that can be applied to other STEM courses.

First Advisor

Madeline Kjera

Research Area

Production, Statistics & Quantitative Analysis

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