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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 99-109

Impact of online courses and grading framework on student learning and motivation


1 Department of Population Health and Pathobiology, NC State College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, NC, USA
2 Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences, NC State College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, NC, USA
3 Department of Clinical Sciences, NCSU College of Education, Research and Instructional Support Specialist, NC State College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, NC, USA
4 Office of Academic Affairs, NC State College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, NC, USA

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Devorah M Stowe
Department of Population Health and Pathobiology, NC State College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, NC 27607.
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/EHP.EHP_27_21

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Background: At our institution, the COVID-19 pandemic led to an abrupt change from traditional in-person instruction to remote teaching along with a concurrent change from letter grades to satisfactory/marginal/unsatisfactory grading. Objectives: The aims of this study were to explore the effects of changes in instructional delivery on students’ learning and retention of the material and to assess students’ motivation to learn. Methods: The study consisted of two phases. Phase 1 involved the administration of an academic motivation survey and a clinical pathology exam using online platforms. Phase 2 involved conducting a focus group to further explore student experiences during the change in course instruction. Results: The academic motivation survey revealed that both prior to and during the pandemic, the main drivers for student achievement were an interest in learning the content due to anticipated relevance in clinical practice, as well as a desire to master course goals. While the students predicted feeling more confident in their data interpretation ability in the traditionally taught topics vs. topics modified due to social distancing, the data from the content exam suggests that students showed better retention of topics taught in a modified manner. Lastly, the focus group revealed that participants perceived online learning to be more challenging due to the lack of in-person contact and increased frustration with technical issues. Conclusion: While moving courses online may make it more difficult to engage with the materials, peers, and instructors, there did not appear to be adverse effects on the overall student learning or content retention.


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