Volume 42 - Number 1 - 2001 | DOI: 10.5032/jae.2001.01021



The purpose of this study was to describe and compare the assessed cognitive level of instruction in agricultural courses taught at a distance to findings from previous research involving on-campus courses and to professors' perceptions of an appropriate level. The populations for the study consisted of all Iowa State University College of Agriculture distance education courses (N=13) and their instructors (N=11) during a two-year period. Instructors desired to achieve practically identical cognitive level outcomes in on- and offcampus versions of their courses. Results of this study and previous studies of on-campus courses showed that instructors' actions did not match their aspirations. They surpassed their aspirations related to lower level (remembering and processing) cognitive outcomes and fell short of their aspirations related to higher level (creating and evaluating) cognitive outcomes. It was concluded that instructors teach to the same levels of cognition in on- and off-campus courses. In addition, results of this study show a relationship between the cognitive level of instruction and the delivery method used. The cognitive level of instruction in off-campus courses delivered by the Iowa Communications Network (ICN) was assessed to be higher than the other three delivery methods studied (i.e., videotape, ICN and videotape, videotape and live). Rival explanations for the ICN advantage were acknowledged.

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