*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on StudyFinds.
The recent coronavirus pandemic has forced students to take to virtual online classrooms to complete their coursework. Even though it may take time for students to adjust to this new format, their education might not suffer, especially if they are in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields.
A new study led by Cornell University researchers shows that STEM students learn just as much in online classrooms as they do in traditional in-person classes. Online courses might be less satisfying than in-person classes, but many more students can access them and they are much cheaper to facilitate.
STEM students in Russia participated in this study in the 2017-18 academic year. Researchers divided 325 students into one of three classroom styles for two of their courses: a fully online class through a program called OpenEdu; an in-person course as their local university or a blended course with online course lectures; and in-person discussion sessions.
The results of the study show that students in all three groups scored pretty similarly on their final exams. Students in the online course scored 7.2% higher on their regular coursework, but this is probably because they were allowed to make up to three attempts on their weekly assignments, allowing them to boost their scores.
The analyses show that there is one drawback to the online classroom style: students in the online group were less-satisfied with their class experience than students in the in-person or blended learning groups.