August 19, 2020

Comparing Student Attitudes on Online Learning vs. In-Person Learning: What They Say and What They Do


A common assumption regarding teaching is that in-person instruction is more beneficial than online instruction and hence students prefer in-person instruction. Over the past few years, the COVID-19 pandemic required most students to complete at least some of their courses in an online format. This has provided us the opportunity to assess whether this assumption about online instruction is accurate and determine how that should impact the format of course delivery moving forward.

This session will cover research we conducted to determine whether in-person instruction was deemed more beneficial than online instruction by students and whether students prefer to attend class in-person rather than online. To do this, we gathered data from two different sources. First, we collected student attendance data for in-person broadcast classes at USU during the Spring 2021 semester. Due to concerns over the Omicron variant, students that semester had the option to attend their in-person broadcast classes in either an online synchronous format (Zoom) or an online asynchronous format (watching the Zoom recording at a later time). This unique situation allowed us to examine how students chose to attend class when provided all three options. Second, surveys were distributed to USU students regarding their attitudes towards online instruction (both synchronous and asynchronous) as compared to in-person instruction. As we decide the extent to which courses should be offered in synchronous and asynchronous online formats moving forward, this information on student attitudes and attendance choices can be used to inform those decisions.

*Participants will learn what students' attitudes are towards in-person learning, synchronous online learning, and asynchronous online learning. Additionally, Participants will learn how students' stated attitudes compare to actual student attendance patterns.

Lisa GabbertJason Twede

Assistant Professor

Jason Twede received his PhD in Criminal Justice from the University of North Dakota and his JD from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. He currently works as an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Utah State University. Prior to pursuing a career in academia, Jason worked as a prosecutor in Navajo County, Arizona.

Clara Cook

Lisa Gabbert

Undergraduate Student, Sociology and Anthropology

Clara is an undergraduate student at Utah State University studying Sociology. She has a passion for understanding people, especially when it involves statistics. Her interest in understanding student connections in online learning stems from her own experiences as an online learner for the last two years.


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