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Teaching Over the WEB versus Face to Face

, , State Univ. of New York at Stony Brook, United States ; , Adelphi Univ.

EdMedia + Innovate Learning, in Norfolk, VA USA ISBN 978-1-880094-42-6 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC


This qualitative study investigated differences, from the point of view of instructors, between teaching college courses over the WEB vs. in more traditional face-to-face formats. We interviewed 21 college instructors who had taught in both formats. Four of the interviews were by telephone and 17 by email. Interview fragments were categorized and counted for frequency to highlight emerging trends. Results indicate that web-based classes have profoundly different communication style than face-to-face classes. This has far-reaching consequences for online classes, in terms of greater equality between students and instructors, greater explicitness of written instructions required, greater workloads for instructors, deeper thinking manifested in discussions, initial feelings of anonymity giving way later to emerging online identities. Authors propose a model with two competing systems, isolation effects and community effects.


Smith, G., Ferguson, D. & Caris, M. (2001). Teaching Over the WEB versus Face to Face. In C. Montgomerie & J. Viteli (Eds.), Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 2001--World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications (pp. 1761-1766). Norfolk, VA USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved January 30, 2023 from .