Technology’s Impact on Online Learning and Academic Performance

Mizrahi, Daniel, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Bloomfield, Aaron, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia

In light of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, universities across the United States have made the shift to online learning in order to continue to deliver an education to students despite the omnipresent health and safety risks. With this in mind, the question begs to be asked; is it even possible to replicate a traditional style of a college education in online learning format with respect to learning and academic performance? This question encompasses countless factors of education such as the means of delivering education, opportunities to collaborate between students and professors, delivery format of assignments and exams, and many more. Some obstacles that students now face in an online format of learning include a lack of engagement and motivation, disconnect from course staff and resources, fewer opportunities for collaboration with other students, and countless other factors. However, the one factor facilitating this transition and the single reason an online college education is even possible, is technology. Because technology is the single most influential factor on the success of an online education, it is also the factor that should be investigated the most in order to figure out whether or not an online education can mimic the successes of a traditional education. Contemporarily, data on online education suggests that it does not match the successes of traditional means of education. However, this does not mean that an online education does not have utility or is invaluable. For the most part, as the single option allowing college students education to persist, an online college education should and is being investigated to figure out what these shortcomings are and how they can be overcome. Therefore, as the single most influential and catalytic facet of online learning, technology is also the area which stands to gain the most from research. Studying and understanding the impact that technology has in an online learning environment will also uncover the ways that technology can be leveraged and utilized in order to overcome the present shortcomings of an online education.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
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