JPAE VOLUME 19 NUMBER 2 JOURNAL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS EDUCATION

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1 JPAE VOLUME 19 NUMBER 2 JOURNAL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS EDUCATION Flagship journal of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration SPRING 2013

2 National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) Jack Knott, Vice President Frances S. Berry, Immediate Past President Laurel McFarland, Executive Director JPAE Oversight Committee: Andrew Ewoh, Greg Lindsey & Amy Donahue David Schultz, Editor in Chief, Hamline University Kristen Norman-Major, Managing Editor, Hamline University Iris Geva-May, Associate Editor for International and Comparative Education, Simon Fraser University Lisa Dejoras, Editorial Assistant, Hamline University Copy Editor: Chris Thillen Layout and Cover Design: Val Escher EDITOR S COUNCIL H. George Frederickson, Founding Editor, University of Kansas James L. Perry, Indiana University, Bloomington Danny L. Balfour, Grand Valley State University Mario A. Rivera, University of New Mexico Marc Holzer Heather E. Campbell, Claremont Graduate University Edward T. Jennings, University of Kentucky Muhittin Acar, Hacettepe University, Turkey Mohamad Alkadry, Florida International University Burt Barnow, George Washington University Peter J. Bergerson, Florida Gulf Coast University Rajade Berry-James, North Carolina State University John Bohte, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Espiridion Borrego, University of Texas Pan American John M. Bryson, University of Minnesota Lysa Burnier, Ohio University N. Joseph Cayer, Arizona State University Heather Campbell, Claremont Graduate University Barbara Crosby, University of Minnesota Robert B. Cunningham, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Dwight Denison, University of Kentucky Anand Desai, Ohio State University James W. Douglas, University of North Carolina at Charlotte Robert Durant, American University Jo Ann G. Ewalt, Eastern Kentucky University Susan Gooden, Virginia Commonwealth University Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore, Michigan State University Meagan Jordan Edward Kellough, University of Georgia Don Kettl, University of Maryland, College Park John Kiefer, University of New Orleans William Earle Klay, Florida State University Chris Koliba, University of Vermont BOARD OF EDITORS Kristina Lambright, Binghamton University, State University of New York Laura Langbein, American University Scott Lazenby, City of Sandy, Oregon Deanna Malatesta, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Steven R. Maxwell, Florida Gulf Coast University Barbara McCabe, University of Texas Juliet Musso, University of Southern California Michael O Hare, University of California, Berkeley Michael Popejoy, Florida International University David Powell, California State University, Long Beach David Reingold, Indiana University Dahlia Remler, Baruch College CUNY R. Karl Rethemeyer, University at Albany SUNY Michelle Saint-Germain, California State University, Long Beach Jodi Sandfort, University of Minnesota Robert A. Schuhmann, University of Wyoming Patricia M. Shields, Texas State University Robert Smith, Kennesaw State University Jessica Sowa, University of Colorado Kendra Stewart, University of Charleston Giovanni Valotti, Università Bocconi David Van Slyke, Syracuse University Karel Van der Molen, Stellenbosch University, South Africa Howard Whitton, Griffith University Blue Wooldridge, Virginia Commonwealth University Firuz Demir Yasamıs, American University in the Emirates CORRESPONDENTS Khalid Al-Yahya, Dubai School of Government Charlene M. L. Roach, University of the West Indies, Edgar Ramirez Delacruz St. Augustine Campus Teaching in Economics (CIDE), Mexico Journal of Public Affairs Education is published quarterly by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration. Claims for missing numbers should be made within the month following the regular month of publication. The publishers expect to supply missing numbers free only when losses have been sustained in transit and when the reserve stock will permit. Subscription Rates: JPAE articles can be accessed at www. naspaa.org/jpaemessenger. Change of Address: Please notify us and your local postmaster immediately of both old and new addresses. Please allow four weeks for the change. Postmaster: Send address changes to JPAE, National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Educators and Copy Centers: National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration. All rights reserved. Educators may reproduce any material for classroom use only and authors may reproduce their articles without written permission. Written permission is required to reproduce JPAE in JPAE is

3 Journal of Public Affairs Education Spring 2013 Volume 19, No. 2 From the Editor Public Affairs Education and the Failed Business Model of Higher Education David Schultz... ii Teaching Public Administration Conference HIGHLIGHTS Teaching Public Administration Conference Update Leland Coxe Comparing the Effectiveness of Classroom and Online Learning: Teaching Research Methods Anna Ya Ni Delivering an MPA Emphasis in Local Governance and Community Development Through Service Learning and Action Research Margaret Stout ARTICLES OF CURRENT INTEREST Departments of Public Administration and Colleges of Business Administration: Allies or Aliens? Lauren N. Bowman and James R. Thompson Public Affairs Programs and the Changing Political Economy of Higher Education Daniel Rich Collaborative Partnerships: The Case of the Executive Master of Public Governance Program in Copenhagen, Denmark Carsten Greve A Public Service Education: A Review of Undergraduate Programs with a Community and Service Focus Tony Carrizales and Lamar Vernon Bennett Internships Adrift? Anchoring Internship Programs in Collaboration Abraham D. Benavides, Lisa A. Dicke, and Amy C. Holt MPA Program Partnerships With Nonprofit Organizations: Benefits to MPA Programs, MPA Students and Graduates, Nonprofit Organizations, and Communities Christopher A. Simon, Melissa Yack, J. Steven Ott BOOK REVIEWS Review of The Art & Craft of Case Writing, Third Edition Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore Review of Cultural Competency for Public Administrators Christopher Koliba Information for Contributors...Inside back cover Cover design by Val Escher. Cover design property of NASPAA. Cover photo: Harvard University.

4 From the Editor Public Affairs Education and the Failed Business Model of Higher Education The dominant business model for American higher education has collapsed. This collapsed business plan portends enormous challenges to public affairs programs as they move forward, forcing them to look to alternative ways to deliver curriculum and finance their programs. Understanding the new political economy of higher education and its impact on public affairs education is the subject of this issue. Since the end of World War II, two business models have defined the operations of American higher education. The first model began with the return of military veterans after 1945, and it lasted though the matriculation of the baby boomers from college in the 1970s. This model produced an ever-expanding number of colleges for a growing population seeking to secure a college degree. It was a model that coincided with the height of the Cold War, when public funding for state schools was regarded as part of an important effort to achieve technological and political supremacy over communism. It also represented the expansion of more and more middle- and working-class students entering college. This was higher education s greatest moment. It was the democratization of college, made possible by expansion of inexpensive public universities, generous grants and scholarships, and low-interest loans. Public institutions were vital to this model, but private institutions also had an important role. Public institutions were public in the sense that they received most if not all of their money either from tax dollars to subsidize tuition and costs or federal money in terms of research grants for faculty. The business model then involved simply public tax dollars, federal aid, and an expanding population of often first-generation students attending public institutions at low tuition in state institutions. The model also included generous student aid and funding for private schools. Let us call this the Dewey business model, named after John Dewey, whose theories on education emphasized the democratic functions of education and sought to inculcate citizenship values though schools. Yet the Dewey model began to collapse in middle of the 1970s. Perhaps it was the retrenchment of the SUNY and CUNY systems in New York under Governor Hugh Carey in 1976 that foretold the end of the democratic university. What caused its retrenchment was the fiscal crisis of the 1970s. The fiscal crisis of the 1970s was born of numerous problems. Inflationary pressures caused by Vietnam and the energy embargoes of the 1970s, and recessionary forces from relative declines in American economic productivity, engendered significant economic shocks including to the public sector, where many state and local governments edged toward bankruptcy. ii Journal of Public Affairs Education

5 From the Editor Efforts to relieve declining corporate profits and productivity initiated efforts to restructure the economy, including cutting back on government services. The response, first in England under Margaret Thatcher and then in the United States under Ronald Reagan, was an effort to retrench the state by a package that included decreases in government expenditures for social welfare programs, cutbacks on business regulations, resistance to labor rights, and tax cuts. Collectively these proposals, known as neoliberalism, sought to restore profitability and autonomy to free markets. The belief was that unfettered by the government, they would restore productivity. Neoliberalism had a major impact on higher education. First beginning under President Carter and then more so under Ronald Reagan, the federal and state governments cut taxes and public expenditures. The combination of the two meant a halt to the Dewey business model: Support for public institutions decreased and federal money dried up, even for students attending private schools. From a high in the 1960s and early 70s, when states and the federal government provided generous funding to expand their public systems to educate the baby boomers, state universities now receive only a small percentage of their money from the government. In 2004, the State of New York constituted only 29% of SUNY s funding and 31% for CUNY. As of 1998, New York spent more on its prisons than on higher education. In 1991, 74% of the funding for public universities came from states; in 2004, it was down to 64%, and state systems in Illinois, Michigan, and Virginia were down to 25%, 18%, and 8% respectively. Since then, the percentages have shrunk even more, rendering state universities as public institutions more in name than in funding. Higher education under neoliberalism needed a new business model, and it found one in the corporate university. In the corporate university, colleges increasingly use corporate structures and management styles to run the university. This approach includes abandoning the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) shared governance model, where faculty had an equal voice in running the school, including designing curriculum; selecting department chairs, deans, and presidents; and determining many other policies affecting the academy. The corporate university replaced the shared governance model with one more typical of a business corporation. The corporate university took control of the curriculum in several ways in order to generate revenue. The new business model found its most powerful income stream in professional education. Professional education, such as in public or business administration, or in law school, became the cash cow of colleges and universities. This was especially true with MBA and, to a lesser extent, public affairs programs. Universities, including traditional ones that once offered only undergraduate programs, saw that there was an appetite for graduate programs. The number of these programs rapidly expanded with high-priced tuition. These graduate and professional programs were sold to applicants by saying that the price would more than be made up in terms of future income earnings by graduates. Journal of Public Affairs Education iii

6 From the Editor This business model thus used tuition from graduate professional programs to finance the rest of the university. Students either were able to secure government or market loans or those from their educational institution to finance their training. Further, the business model relied heavily on attracting foreign students, returning older baby boom students in need of additional credentials, and recent graduates part of the baby boomlet seeking professional degrees as a shortcut to advancement. This model accelerated with the emergence of the Internet and was especially perfected with the proprietary for-profit schools. To promote the expansion of online programs over the Web or Internet, a specialist designs the curriculum for courses, sells it to the school, and then the university hires adjuncts to deliver the canned class. Here, the costs of offering a class are reduced, potential class size is maximized, and if and when the curriculum needs to be changed to reflect new market needs or preferences, it is simple to accomplish. Traditional schools, seeing this model flourish, began emulating it. They expanded their online programs, often with minimal investments in faculty. Overall, the new business model relied heavily on the expansion of pricy professional programs sold to traditional and nontraditional students who financed their education with student loans. This model took off with the Internet and was facilitated by a management structure and partnering that drew higher education into closer collaboration and dependence on corporate America. The corporate business model worked until 2008, when it died along with the neoliberal economic policies that had nourished it since the late 1970s. The global economic collapse produced even more pressures on the government to shrink educational expenditures. But the high and persistent unemployment also yielded something not previously seen: the decline of students seeking more education. The decline came for two major reasons. First, baby boomers were aging out into retirement and no longer needed educational training. With that, the baby boomlet had run its peak as the American pool of potential students rapidly decreased. In effect, the demand for education had dropped. Second, traditionally professional degrees flourished in tough economic times, when individuals used their unemployment as the opportunity to get retrained. But since 2008 that has not happened, in part thanks to the persistent high unemployment and rise of consumer and student debt. Unlike previous post World War II recessions, the most recent one has dramatically wiped out consumer wealth some $13 trillion in wealth was lost and consumer debt has skyrocketed. Student loan debt has also ballooned and is now greater than personal consumer debt. The average student loan debt for a graduate of the class of 2010 exceeds $25,000. In effect, potential students are tapped out. They have no money to finance further education, they see that companies are not hiring, and overall, they find little incentive to take on debt for jobs that may not exist. The result? A crash in applications to graduate professional programs. The corporate business model has crashed. It was a bubble that burst, much like the real estate bubble in But in actually, it was a model waiting to go iv Journal of Public Affairs Education

7 From the Editor bust. The corporate business model functioned like an education Ponzi scheme. Higher education paid for programs by raking in dollars from rapidly expanding professional programs and selling degrees on the promise that high tuition costs would be worth it to students. But all Ponzi schemes soon collapse, and that is what higher education is now experiencing. Now throw in sequestration. Already since the crash of 2008, tens if not hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs have been lost. The best estimates are that in the future, even more will fade due to sequestration or austerity programs to reduce federal spending. Federal and state budgetary trends will place increased pressure on public affairs programs to innovate, justify their existence, and develop alternative ways to educate. Public affairs programs too will need a new business model. The scholarship of this JPAE Spring issue begins an exploration of this new model. Leland Coxe serves as guest editor for the mini-symposium that reviews the highlights of the Teaching Public Administration Conference. Besides providing an overview of TPAC, he introduces two of the more notable papers from it: Comparing the Effectiveness of Classroom and Online Learning: Teaching Research Methods, by Anna Ya Ni, and Delivering an MPA Emphasis in Local Governance and Community Development Through Service Learning and Action Research, by Margaret Stout. Both of these articles explore two of the most recent trends in delivering curriculum and asking good questions about quality. The Spring 2013 issue also is richly graced with other articles and book reviews. First, in Departments of Public Administration and Colleges of Business Administration: Allies or Aliens? Lauren N. Bowman and James R. Thompson examine the repercussions of one trend that public administration programs face in tough economic times being merged into schools of business. In efforts to save money, to address dwindling enrollments, or in the belief that public and business administration programs share many affinities, universities are putting the two under the same roof. But how compatible are the two programs and what happens to public administration when it is merged into business? Bowman and Thompson deliver important insights into how well the marriage of these two programs works. Higher education is at a crossroads. Enrollments, especially for many professional degrees, are down dramatically; student debt is at record highs; and public support for colleges and universities is shrinking. All of this threatens the quality and viability of American higher education. In Public Affairs Programs and the Changing Political Economy of Higher Education, Daniel Rich describes this new reality. His piece is a sober reminder of the problems faced by American higher education and how they affect the delivery of public affairs programs. Rich describes a trend that is not going to change soon, if at all, and suggests that in this age of sequestration, the halcyon days of public affairs education are behind us. In Collaborative Partnerships: The Case of the Executive Master of Public Governance Program in Copenhagen, Denmark, Carsten Greve looks at another facet of how business and public affairs programs work together. Here, the author Journal of Public Affairs Education v

8 From the Editor presents a case study of the Executive Master of Public Governance degree program in Copenhagen, Denmark. This program was a joint effort by the University of Copenhagen and Copenhagen Business School, aided by Aalborg University. It was initiated by the Danish Parliament as a means of fostering quality control and assurance. In 2012, the program had enrolled more than 600 public managers from Denmark; their average age was 47. Greve details how the joint effort worked and then offers four lessons learned regarding how to make these types of multisector collaborative projects thrive. Community service and learning is increasingly a major focus and component of many public affairs programs. Tony Carrizales and Lamar Vernon Bennett explore the pedagogy and trends in undergraduate training in Public Service Education: A Review of Undergraduate Programs with a Community and Service Focus. The strength of their article is providing an exhaustive review of NASPAA schools offering or emphasizing public service education. Their piece is absolutely terrific information for those wanting a better understanding of who is doing what, and why this type of educational training is a welcome alternative or addition to many curriculums. Internships are another popular educational option in many public affairs programs. They supposedly offer real-world experiences and on-site opportunities to develop skills ordinarily not well developed in the classroom. They purport to serve as bridges that link theory to practice. But what do we know about internships in terms of what makes for a successful experience? Exploring this question is the subject of Internships Adrift? Anchoring Internship Programs in Collaboration, by Abraham D. Benavides, Lisa A. Dicke, and Amy C. Holt. These authors provide a succinct history of internships. Then they review the educational philosophy of such programs, along with a model for how they should be structured. The article concludes with a survey of department chairs regarding their internship programs. Christopher A. Simon, Melissa Yack, and J. Steven Ott continue the dialogue on community learning in MPA Program Partnerships With Nonprofit Organizations: Benefits to MPA Programs, MPA Students and Graduates, Nonprofit Organizations, and Communities. The authors note the historic importance of community service to American democracy. They then highlight the University of Utah s MPA program, which has established partnerships with many community organizations and nonprofits. They describe the benefits of these collaborations to the students, the community, and the university as well as the barriers that often threaten successful long-term working relationships and integration of the partnerships into the curriculum. The Spring 2013 issue concludes with two book reviews. First is a review by Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore of The Art & Craft of Case Writing (3rd ed.), authored by William Naumes and Margaret Naumes. Second is a review of Cultural Competency for Public Administrators, edited by Kristen Norman-Major and Susan T. Gooden and reviewed by Christopher Koliba. Both reviews examine texts one a classic and one a new entrant that explore important skills or trends in public affairs education. vi Journal of Public Affairs Education

9 From the Editor A final note: Have you authored or edited a new or revised book or read a new book that you think should be reviewed in JPAE? We are looking for books of interest to our readers. If you know of such a book, please contact me. If I agree it is appropriate for JPAE, we will arrange to secure a copy for you to review. David Schultz Editor in Chief Hamline University David Schultz is a Hamline University professor in the School of Business and School of Law. Professor Schultz is a two-time Fulbright Scholar and the author of more than 25 books and 90+ articles on various aspects of American politics, election law, and the media and politics, and he is regularly interviewed and quoted on these subjects in the local, national, and international media, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, the Economist, and National Public Radio. His most recent book, American Politics in the Age of Ignorance: Why Lawmakers Choose Belief Over Research, was published in 2012 by Palgrave Macmillan. Journal of Public Affairs Education vii

10 viii Journal of Public Affairs Education

11 Teaching Public Administration Conference Update Leland Coxe University of Texas at Brownsville The 35th Annual Teaching Public Administration Conference (TPAC) was held May 21 23, 2012 at the Isla Grand Beach Resort Hotel on South Padre Island, Texas. This event was sponsored by the University of Texas at Brownsville, an institution that serves one of America s most impoverished regions, the Rio Grande Valley. UTB s student body is 93% Hispanic, and promoting civic engagement has been a major priority of UTB s president, Dr. Juliet Garcia. The Annual TPAC Conference offers the opportunity for professors, practitioners, and community leaders to share experiences while learning about ongoing research and activity. For academics, this event allows for approaching teaching, service, and scholarship as an integrated whole rather than as three separate aspects of their careers. The exchange of information and insights between academics and professionals can inform the policy process, enhance policy implementation, and generate opportunities for collaboration across academic institutions and community agencies. The theme of TPAC 2012 was Diversity and Civic Engagement in Teaching Public Administration, two important matters that are frequently treated as separate if not conflicting considerations. The importance of increasing civic engagement in the Rio Grande Valley is pointed out by voter turnout that is consistently below average for both the State of Texas and the United States. UTB s efforts in this area have been recognized through its designation by the Carnegie Foundation as a community-engaged campus. The issues of diversity are also quite important for a university with a majority-minority student population. A number of presentations addressed how to create civic engagement in diverse settings, and the capacity of service learning to connect faculty and students to the larger community was examined both in papers and panel discussions. Cultural competence was the topic for several papers and panels, and Dr. John Cook of the University of Texas at Brownsville presented his experiences with the Difficult Dialogues initiative that has promoted civil discussion of divisive subjects as the keynote address. Two presentations for TPAC 2012 have developed into articles that are included in the current edition of JPAE. Dr. Margaret Stout outlines an integrated model for connecting academia with the larger community in Delivering an MPA JPAE 19(2), Journal of Public Affairs Education 197

12 L. Coxe Emphasis in Local Governance and Community Development Through Service Learning and Action Research. Dr. Stout s paper describes how a series of four courses provide community outreach for the university while offering students the opportunity to develop and exercise practical skills that relate the academic coursework to real situations experienced by organizations. Dr. Anna Ya Ni addresses the important consideration of the impacts of teaching technology in Comparing the Effectiveness of Classroom and Online Learning: Teaching Research Methods. This paper compares the results for measures of student performance and assessments of learning experiences for students enrolled in graduate research methods courses taught by the same instructor for both online and conventional classes. It was my honor to serve as chair of TPAC 2012, and I wish to thank all who participated for making this event informative, interesting, and engaging. My special thanks to JPAE for supporting TPAC and providing a forum for the publication of the outstanding papers from the conference. The 36th TPAC will be held June 3 5, 2013, at the Hotel Kabuki in Japantown, San Francisco. TPAC 2013 is being hosted by the University of San Francisco and Presidio Graduate School and is sponsored by the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) Section on Public Administration Education (SPAE). The theme for TPAC 2013 is Pedagogical Strategies of Building 21st-Century Competencies, and this conference promises to offer a wide discussion of the impacts of social and technological change upon higher education. SPAE chair, Margaret Stout, encourages all who wish to pursue excellence in teaching and curriculum-driven research and service to attend. Dr. Leland M. Coxe, Assistant Professor of Government for the University of Texas at Brownsville, served as the Chair for the 2012 Teaching Public Administration Conference (TPAC). Dr. Coxe holds a Ph.D in Public Administration and Policy from Portland State University, and MPA from California State University - Long Beach, and a BA from Louisiana State University. 198 Journal of Public Affairs Education

13 Comparing the Effectiveness of Classroom and Online Learning: Teaching Research Methods Anna Ya Ni California State University San Bernardino Abstract As public administration programs extend their online education offerings to reach more time- and place-bound students, and as accredited institutions become interested in documenting teaching and learning effectiveness, the degree to which online students are successful as compared to their classroom counterparts is of interest to teaching faculty and others charged with assessment. By comparing student performance measures and assessments of learning experience from both online and traditional sections of a required graduate public administration research methods course taught by the same instructor, this paper provides evidence that student performance as measured by grade is independent of the mode of instruction. Persistence in an online environment may be more challenging in research methods classes than in other public administration classes. Furthermore, participation may be less intimidating, and the quality and quantity of interaction may be increased in online classes. Two trends have recently converged in teaching public administration. As access to the Internet and World Wide Web has continued to grow, public administration programs have increasingly adopted Web-based instructional mechanisms. In the mid-1990s, the National Association of Schools and Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) noted that only eight member MPA/MPP programs offered online courses, but the number almost doubled to 15 by 2003 (Ginn & Hammond, 2012). As of June 2012, the NASPAA website listed 39 member schools offering online MPA and related degrees, graduate certificates, and courses. A recent survey of 96 NASPAA-affiliated institutions indicates that around 40% of them offered hybrid or online courses, and about 24% had programs offering fully online courses (Ginn & Hammond, 2012). Nationwide, Keywords: learning effectiveness, online teaching, online interaction, persistence JPAE 19(2), Journal of Public Affairs Education 199

14 A. Ya Ni online enrollment rates are expanding at much faster rates than traditional classroom enrollment growth; specifically, in higher education, online enrollments have grown 21%, whereas growth for traditional classroom instruction registers only 2% since 2002 (Allen & Seaman, 2007). Concurrent with the expansion of online education, higher education programs today are wrestling with how to respond to ever-increasing accountability demands. This issue includes the federal government s concern with accrediting bodies producing evidence that students reach articulated learning goals (Suskie, 2004). Public administration programs are no exception. In 2009, NASPAA adopted new accreditation standards, demanding performance measurement throughout the public administration curriculum. For example, newly embraced standards now require programs to engage in ongoing assessment of student learning for all universal required competencies, all mission-specific required competencies, and all elective (option, track, specialization, or concentration) competencies (NASPAA, 2012, p. 30). As a consequence, these widespread interests and pressures push instructors to document learning effectiveness as well as to maintain their efforts at continuous improvement of learning outcomes. The development of these two trends merging in the contemporary education setting raises a question about the effectiveness of online courses, particularly as compared to traditional classroom learning and in relation to individual student needs, perceptions, and learning outcomes. This research explores the key issues of online, as compared to classroom, learning and compares the major dimensions of learning effectiveness of the two cases. This study focuses on the multisection experience of one instructor in a research methods course in a public administration program. In the following pages, the article reviews the literature addressing the impact of the learning environment and examines past studies on online learning effectiveness. The author then describes the research setting and methodology. Finally, results and discussion are presented following the investigation, drawing conclusions as to critical issues and presenting lessons learned and directions for future research. Online vs. Classroom Learning Environment The impact of learning environments in relation to learning outcomes has constantly been explored by researchers of education. For example, Ramsden and Entwistle (1981) empirically identified a relationship between approaches to learning and perceived characteristics of the academic environment. Haertela, Walberg, and Haertela (1981) found correlations between student perceptions of social psychological environments of their classes and learning outcomes. Web-based technology has noticeably transformed the learning and teaching environment. Proponents of online learning have seen that it can be effective in potentially eliminating barriers while providing increased convenience, flexibility, currency of material, customized learning, and feedback over a traditional face-to-face 200 Journal of Public Affairs Education

15 Comparing the Effectiveness of Classroom and Online Learning experience (Hackbarth, 1996; Harasim, 1990; Kiser, 1999; Matthews, 1999; Swan et al., 2000). Opponents, however, are concerned that students in an online environment may feel isolated (Brown, 1996), confused, and frustrated (Hara & Kling, 2000) and that student s interest in the subject and learning effectiveness may be reduced (R. Maki, W. Maki, Patterson, & Whittaker, 2000). The following section examines two key differences of learning effectiveness interaction and student performance between the online and classroom learning environments. Interaction An important component of classroom learning is the social and communicative interactions between student and teacher, and student and student. A student s ability to ask a question, to share an opinion, or to disagree with a point of view are fundamental learning activities. It is often through conversation, discourse, discussion, and debate among students and between instructors and students that a new concept is clarified, an old assumption is challenged, a skill is practiced, an original idea is formed and encouraged, and ultimately, a learning objective is achieved. Online learning requires adjustments by instructors as well as students for successful interactions to occur. Online courses often substitute classroom interaction with discussion boards, synchronous chat, electronic bulletin boards, and s. The effectiveness of such a virtual interactive venue is not without debate. Student-to-instructor and student-to-student interactions are important elements in the design of a Web-based course (Fulford & Zhang, 1993; Kumari, 2001; Sherry, 1996) because learners can experience a sense of community, enjoy mutual interdependence, build a sense of trust, and have shared goals and values (Davies & Graff, 2005; Rovai, 2002). Some scholars suggest that interaction in an online environment promotes student-centered learning, encourages wider student participation, and produces more in-depth and reasoned discussions than a traditional classroom setting does (e.g., Karayan & Crowe, 1997; D. Smith & Hardaker, 2000). Interaction in an online environment is less intimidating between individuals and also has less time pressure on students than does interaction in a face-to-face setting (Warschauer, 1997). Online discussions also can encourage more reticent students to participate to a greater extent (Citera, 1988). However, the advantage of online interaction may not be realized if close connection among the learners is absent. Haythornthwaite and colleagues (2000) found that students who failed to make online connections with other learners in their group reported feeling isolated and more stressed. McConnell (2000) provides a comprehensive comparison of the differences between online and face-to-face learning. Important differences related to interaction in the two modes of instruction are adapted in Table 1. Journal of Public Affairs Education 201

16 A. Ya Ni Table 1. Comparison of Interaction Between Online and Face-to-Face Settings Mode Sense of Instructor Control Discussion Group Dynamics Rejoining Feedback Divergence /Choice Level Online Discussions through text only; Can be structured; Dense; permanent; limited; stark Less sense of instructor control; Easier for participants to ignore instructor Group contact continually maintained; Depth of analysis often increased; Discussion often stops for periods of time, then is picked up and restarted; Level of reflection is high; Able to reshape conversation on basis of ongoing understandings and reflection Less sense of anxiety; More equal participation; Less hierarchies; Dynamics are hidden but traceable; No breaks, constantly in the meeting; Can be active listening without participation; Medium (technology) has an impact; Different expectation about participation; Slower, time delays in interactions or discussions High psychological/emotional stress of rejoining Feedback on each individual s piece of work very detailed and focused; Whole group can see and read each other s feedback; Textual feedback only; No one can hide and not give feedback; Permanent record of feedback obtained by all; Delayed reactions to feedback; Sometimes little discussion after feedback; Group looks at all participants work at same time Loose-bound nature encourages divergent talk and adventitious learning; Medium frees the sender but may restrict the other participants (receivers) by increasing their uncertainty Source. Adapted from McConnell (2000). Face-to-Face Verbal discussions: a more common mode, but impermanent More sense of leadership from instructor; Not so easy to ignore instructor Little group contact between meetings; Analysis varies, dependent on time available; Discussions occur within a set of time frame; Often little time for reflection during meetings; Conversations are less likely being shaped during meeting Anxiety at beginning/during meetings; Participation unequal; More chance of hierarchies; Dynamics evident but lost after the event; Breaks between meetings; Listening without participation may be frowned upon; Medium (room) may have less impact; Certain expectations about participation; Quicker, immediacy of interactions or discussions Stress of rejoining not so high Less likely to cover as much detail, often more general discussion; Group hears feedback; Verbal/visual feedback; Possible to free-ride and avoid giving feedback; No permanent record of feedback; Immediate reactions to feedback possible; Usually some discussion after feedback, looking at wider issues; Group looks at one participant s work at a time More tightly bound, requiring adherence to accepted protocols; Uncertainty less likely due to common understandings about how to take part in discussions 202 Journal of Public Affairs Education

17 Comparing the Effectiveness of Classroom and Online Learning Researchers also attempt to identify the link between online interaction and student performance. For example, Davies and Graff (2005) found that greater online interaction was not significantly associated with higher performance for students achieving passing grades; however, students who failed in their online classes tended to interact less frequently. Student Performance Student performance is a multidimensional concept; successful completion of a course, course withdrawals, grades, added knowledge, and skill building are among some of the aspects. Nevertheless, researchers have been interested in differences in performance between the two modes of instruction. McLaren (2004) found significant differences in persistence between the two instructional modes, though no significant performance difference was noted as measured by the final grade. Carr (2000) reported dropout rates as high as 80% in online classes and suggested a rule of thumb that course completion rates are often 10 to 20% higher in traditional courses. This result can be attributed to the demographic that distance education students are frequently older and have more life obligations. It also can be attributed to the mode of instruction itself, because online classes are often viewed as easier to drift away from or sever ties with. Comparable performance findings were identified in different academic curriculums. Moore and Thompson (1990, 1997) reviewed much of this type of research from the 1980s through the 1990s and concluded that distance education was effective in terms of achievement of learning, attitudes expressed by students and teachers, and return on investment (1997). Harrington (1999) compared classroom and online statistics instruction for master s-level social work students and suggested that students who previously have been successful academically can do just as well with a distance learning approach as can students in a traditional classroom course. Thirunarayanan and Perez-Prad (2001), in their study of education programs, found that although the online group scored slightly better than the campus group on the class post-test, the difference in performance was not statistically significant. L. Smith (2001) compared instruction in an MBA marketing planning course, providing descriptions of the differences needed in the two environments to achieve the same learning objectives. McLaren (2004), in comparing performance measures of an undergraduate business statistics course, provided evidence that the final grade for students who successfully completed the course is independent of the mode of instruction. Despite the proliferation of literature, performance measurement for online instruction is quite difficult and often problematic. For example, Brown and Wack (1999) point out the difficulty of applying a clinical experimental design to educational research and suggest the efforts to compare distance and conventional courses and programs are problematic, especially as distance and campus programs and populations are increasingly integrated. Within the limited amount of original Journal of Public Affairs Education 203

18 A. Ya Ni research, three broad measures of the effectiveness of online education are usually examined: (a) student outcomes, such as grades and test scores; (b) student attitudes about learning through distance education; and (c) overall student satisfaction toward distance learning. Such research studies have often demonstrated weak designs, especially in control of the populations under comparison, the treatment being given, and the statistical techniques being applied (Moore & Thompson, 1990). A study by Phipps and Merisotis (1999) found that several key shortcomings are inherent within the original research on the effectiveness of online learning, including no control for extraneous variables (and therefore no demonstrable illustration of cause and effect), lack of randomization for sample selection, weak validity and reliability of measuring instruments, and no control for any reactive effects. It is important to note that, despite the proliferation of literature on online learning, there is a relative scarcity of true, original research dedicated to examining online learning effectiveness in the field of public administration. Research Method The purpose of this study is to compare student performance in online and face-to-face classes in terms of interaction and efficacy in a public administration class. The study compares learning effectiveness in six (three online and three face-to-face) research methods classes taught by the same instructor in the MPA program at the California State University San Bernardino from the fall academic quarter of 2010 to the spring quarter of The university offers a fully online program that parallels the traditional MPA program. Each of the nine required core courses is offered in two modes. The program requires all online courses to be comparable to their in-class counterparts. MPA students, based on their own needs, have the option to enroll in a course either online or face-to-face. They may complete the program with all online courses or all face-to-face classes; or they may take some classes online and others face-to-face. The Research Methods in Administration course is one of the required introductory classes in the program. Most students would take the class during the first quarter of their MPA program, and most of them have neither online learning experience nor experience with the program. A student may choose between online or face-to-face classes based on commuting distance, working schedule (for students in employment), and tuition difference (due to an additional fee for online classes) instead of previous performance in a different learning environment. This study uses student performance records from the six classes as well as student survey responses from two (one online and one face-to-face) of the six classes. Students participation in the survey was anonymous and voluntary. To provide comparable learning experiences across the two modes of teaching, the content and structure of the two types of classes were designed to be as similar as possible. Table 2 compares the content delivery mechanisms between the two instructional modes. Students in both online and face-to-face classes were given access to the Blackboard system. In the online classes, all course materials and 204 Journal of Public Affairs Education

19 Comparing the Effectiveness of Classroom and Online Learning Table 2. Comparison of Content Delivery Mode of Teaching Online Face-to-Face Readings other than textbook Online Online Multimedia resources Online Online Lectures Narrative PowerPoint Instructor and PowerPoint Discussions Discussion board Classroom interaction Group projects Online group setting Face-to-face groups Assignments submitted Online Online Quizzes Online Classroom Feedback to student work Online Online activities were delivered via Blackboard. In the face-to-face classes, required readings other than the textbook and multimedia resources (mainly video cases for discussion) were made accessible online. In addition, the instructor also requires the students to use the assignment function on Blackboard to submit assignments and retrieve feedback. Otherwise, classroom activities such as lectures, discussions, and group projects were carried out in the classroom. The main difference between the two types of class is the mode of interaction between instructor and students as well as that among students. This research explores two hypotheses: H0: There is no significant difference in learning effectiveness between online and face-to-face classes. H1: Online class differs from face-to-face class in learning effectiveness. The research attempts to assess the dependent variable learning effectiveness with multiple measures, including grades, self-evaluation of achieving learning objectives, and student assessment of online interaction. Results Table 3 presents the grade distribution of the six classes under study. The observed and expected frequencies for student grades are shown in Table 4. The single student with a grade of Incomplete in the face-to-face class of spring 2012 has been eliminated from this analysis. A chi-square test of independence leads to a statistic of 8.16 (p-value.32). A separate chi-square test of independence by eliminating the grade F generates a statistic of 6.51 (p-value.37). Therefore, we cannot reject the null hypothesis: Learning effectiveness as measured by student grades is independent of the mode of instruction. Journal of Public Affairs Education 205

20 A. Ya Ni Table 3. Grades Comparison Between Online and Face-to-Face Classes Online Classroom Grade Value Winter 2012 N = 26 Winter 2011 N = 28 Fall 2010 N = 27 Spring 2012 N = 19 Spring 2011 N = 28 Fall 2010 N = 24 A A B B B C D Incomplete 1 F Failing rate 12% 4% 15% 4% 4% 4% Average without F Average Two of the online classes have higher failure rates as compared to face-to-face classes (see Table 3). Ten percent of students failed in online classes, whereas only 4% did in classroom sessions among the six classes under study (see Table 5). Students who failed the class were often those who discontinued their study. This result is in agreement with findings from previous research results that the online classroom experiences a higher dropout rate as compared to face-to-face classroom (McLaren, 2004; Carr, 2000). Table 5 compares the failure rates of the research methods classes under study to that of the same classes taught by all instructors as well as to that of other public administration courses during the same period of time, from winter quarter of 2010 to spring quarter of The failure rate is calculated by including the withdrawals, by which students discontinue the class with legitimate reasons after the census. The results indicate that failure rate is consistently higher in online research methods classes no matter who teaches the class: 8% of students fail in online class as compared to 3% in face-to-face class in general. The discrepancy does not exist in a similar introductory course 206 Journal of Public Affairs Education

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