Higher education and performance: examining at-risk populations in an online environment
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Using data from a Master's of Public Administration (MPA) program at a Mid-western regional university in the United States, this paper studies whether Learning Management Systems (LMS) have equivalent outputs relative to more traditional educational delivery systems. In essence, are current generation LMS, used for online only instruction, equivalent to traditional teaching models when examining race and gender? This study examined certain output criteria using regression analysis and found no statistically significant difference between online and on-ground students in terms of their MPA degree GPA. However, African American student performance was relatively weaker than non-African American students in terms of GPA regardless of whether they were admitted into the online or on-ground program. This finding is consistent with other studies examining on-ground only performance. We posit that this difference was caused by their lower grades before they entered into this master's program. To combat the gap, fair grading is a good but not sufficient practice, and additional resources and remedial approaches should be in place in order to better prepare African American students as competitive as other racial groups.
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