A Comparative Analysis of Online and Traditional Undergraduate Business Law Courses

D.J. Shelley, L.B. Swartz, and M.T. Cole (USA)


Online learning, eCollege Platform, Traditional/Onland Classroom


The trend in academia to online learning has gained momentum in the past decade, due in part to the cost of higher education, a changing student profile, lack of traditional classroom space, and the recognition that distance learning has created a new paradigm of instruction. Universities wishing to maintain or expand enrollments need to be able to respond effectively to the educational needs of working adults, students in the military and residents of rural communities as well as of other countries. Online (internet-based) course offerings constitute a creative and increasingly popular response to these challenges. As more and more institutions of higher learning offer online courses, the question arises whether they are, or can be, as effective as courses offered in the traditional classroom format. Answering the question has been the focus of several studies. Our study compared students enrolled in both online and traditional classroom versions of one business law course, BLAW 1050, where all elements were the same except for the instruction format. The study found no significant difference between the two formats with regard to student satisfaction and student learning. The findings support earlier comparisons of online and traditional instruction modes.

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