An Analysis of Student Self-Assessment of Online, Blended, and Face-to-Face Learning Environments: Implications for sustainable education delivery

Sidney R. Castle
Chad J. McGuire


Online delivery has the potential to offer significant benefits in achieving multiple goals related to sustainable
education. For example, students from a variety of backgrounds can access educational opportunity, allowing for
vast dissemination of education. In addition, the methods employed in online learning are generally much lower
in carbon intensity, providing an added operational benefit to online education. Beyond these stated benefits, we
must also identify what components of online education are deemed effective from the student’s perspective.
This article summarizes a recent study conducted by the authors on overall student self-assessment of learning at
a major online university, and compares these results with general pedagogical assumptions regarding the
perceived benefits of online learning. The goal is to highlight what factors students find important in ensuring
quality learning outcomes in the online learning environment. The extension of this work is to link successful
components of online delivery to the general achievement of sustainability in education delivery methods.


Online, Education, Sustainability


This study was conducted on 4,038 student course evaluations from 2009-2010. Assessments considered self-assessment on learning, assessment of teaching, assessment of course and assessment of technology used (p. 37). Results suggest that across disciplines, undergraduate and graduate students both preferred F2F classes over blended or online courses. Undergraduates preferred blended to wholly online whereas graduates preferred online over blended. Blended and online courses were scored the highest when they were specialized courses or independent studies that still had F2F meetings. For graduate students, online courses utilizing synchronous communication resulted in the highest levels of self-reported learning (p. 38). Overall results suggest that student satisfaction with online and blended courses is highest when they replicate aspects of F2F (i.e. synchronous communication). As even in online and blended courses, course content and instructor competence remain the most important aspects of student satisfaction and self-reported learning, the authors suggest that schools need to develop education programs for current faculty to help them adapt to the changing learning environment brought about by the increase in demand for online and blended courses.

APA Citation

Castle, S. R., & McGuire, C. J. (2010). An analysis of student self-assessment of online, blended, and face-to-face learning environments: Implications for sustainable education delivery. International Education Studies, 3, 36-40.

About the Study

Links to Article
Mode Blended or Hybrid, Online
Publication Type Journal Article
In Publication International Education Studies
Type of Research Quantitative
Research Design Survey research (qualitative or quantitative), Text analysis
Intervention/Areas of Study Course and program evaluation
Level of Analysis Student-level
Specific Populations Examined Graduates, Undergraduates
Peer-Reviewed Yes
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest 4-year Institution, Doctorate-granting, Private
Specific Course or Program Characteristics Arts and humanities, Formal sciences, Natural sciences, Social sciences, STEM
Outcome Variables of Interest Satisfaction
Student Sample Size 500 +
Citing Articles,50&sciodt=0,50&hl=en