Civic and Political Engagement Outcomes in Online and Face-to-Face Courses

  • Tanya Buhler Corbin
  • Allison K. Wisecup


In recent years, two significant trends in higher education have emerged in the scholarship of teaching and learning research (SoTL). In response to the declining levels of civic engagement in America identified by Putnam (2000) and others, scholars, particularly in political science, turned their attention to identifying ways to create pedagogies that cultivate students’ civic and political engagement. Through this scholarship, scholars and educators have significantly increased knowledge about the development and implementation of effective pedagogies of engagement. Recent scholarship has shifted from identifying pedagogies of engagement, and has begun to focus on measuring and assessing the effects that these pedagogies have on students’ civic and political engagement. At the same time that scholars identified and began to study declining civic and political engagement, online learning in higher education gained popularity. The number of students enrolling in online courses has continued to increase (Means et al. 2009). Currently, 32 percent of all college students take at least one online course during their studies (Allen and Seaman 2013).


Ordinary Little Square Political Science Civic Engagement Online Discussion Political Engagement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allen, I. Elaine and Jeff Seaman. 2010. Class Differences: Online Education in the United States. The Sloan Consortium. Available at Accessed on November 17, 2014.Google Scholar
  2. Allen, I. Elaine and Jeff Seaman. 2013. Changing Course: Ten Tears of Tracking Online Education in the United States. Sloan Consortium; Babson Survey Research Group; Pearson. Available at Accessed on November 17, 2014.Google Scholar
  3. Allison, Paul. 1990. “Change Scores as Dependent Variables in Regression Analysis.” Sociological Methodology 20: 93–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Astin, Alexander W. and Linda J. Sax. 1998. “How Undergraduates Are Affected by Service Participation.” Journal of College Student Development 39 (3): 251–263.Google Scholar
  5. Atkinson, Maxine P. and Andrea N. Hunt. 2008. “Inquiry-Guided Learning in Sociology.” Teaching Sociology 36 (1): 1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Banta, Trudy. 2007. Assessing Student Learning in the Disciplines: Assessment Update Collections. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  7. Battistoni, Richard. 2013. “Preface.” In Teaching Civic Engagement: From Student to Active Citizen, edited by McCartney, Alison Rios Millett, Elizabeth A. Bennion, and Dick Simpson. Washington DC: American Political Science Association.Google Scholar
  8. Beaumont, Elizabeth, Anne Colby, Thomas Ehrlich, and Judith Torney-Purta. 2006. “Promoting Political Competence and Engagement in College Students: An Empirical Study.” Journal of Political Science Education 2: 249–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bernard, Robert M., Phillip C. Abrami, Yiping Lou, Evgueni Borokhovshi, Anne Wade, Lori Wozney, Peter Andrew Wallet, Manon Fiset, and Binru Huang. 2004. “How Does Distance Education Compare to Classroom Instruction? A Meta-analysis of Empirical Literature.” Review of Educational Research 74(3): 379–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Birge, James, Brooke Beaird, and Jan Torres. 2003. “Partnerships among Colleges and Universities for Service Learning.” In Building Partnerships for Service-Learning, edited by B. Jacoby. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
  11. Botsch, Carol S. and Robert E. Botsch. 2001. “Audiences and Outcomes in Online and Traditional American Government Classes: A Comparative Two-Year Case Study.” PS 34 (2): 135–141.Google Scholar
  12. Bok, Derek. 2003. Universities in the Marketplace: The Commercialization of Higher Education. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  13. CIRCLE. n.d. “Volunteering Trends and Statistics.” Available at Accessed December 12, 2014.
  14. CIRCLE. 2010. “Millennials Talk Politics: A Study of College Student Civic Engagement.” Available at, date accessed Decemberl4, 2014.Google Scholar
  15. Clawson, Rosalee A., Rebecca E. Deen, and Zoe M. Oxley. 2002. “Online Discussions across Three Universities: Student Participation and Pedagogy.” PS 35 (4): 713–718.Google Scholar
  16. Colby, Anne, Elizabeth Beaumont, Thomas Ehrlich, and Josh Corngold. 2007. Educating for Democracy: Preparing Undergraduates for Political Engagement. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  17. Dailey-Herbert, Amber, Emily Donnelli-Sallee, and Laurie N. Dipadova- Stocks, eds. 2008. Service-Elearning: Educating for Citizenship. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  18. Dolan, Kathleen. 2008. “Comparing Modes of Instruction: The Relative Efficacy of On-Line and In-Person Teaching for Student Learning.” PS 41(2): 387–391.Google Scholar
  19. Driscoll, Adam, Karl Jicha, Andrea N. Hunt, Lisa Tichavsky, and Gretchen Thompson. 2012. “Can Online Courses Deliver In-Class Results?: A Comparison of Student Performance and Satisfaction in an Online versus a Face-to-Face Introductory Sociology Course.” Teaching Sociology 40 (4): 312–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dutton, John, Marilyn Dutton, and Joe Perry, 2001. “Do Online Students Perform as Well as Lecture Students?” Journal of Engineering Education 90 (1): 131–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hamann, Kerstin, Philip H. Pollock, and Bruce M. Wilson. 2009. “Learning From ‘Listening’ to Peers in Online Political Science Classes.” Journal of Political Science Education 5(1): 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Huerta, Juan and David Jozwiak. 2008. “Developing Civic Engagement in General Education Political Science.” Journal of Political Science Education 4 (1): 42–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jackman, Jennifer. 2012. “When Virtuality and Reality Meet: Online Courses, Experiential Learning and Political Engagement.” American Political Science Association Teaching and Learning Conference, February 17–19, 2012.Google Scholar
  24. Jahng, Namsook, Don Krug, and Zuochen Zhang. 2007. “Student Achievement in Online Distance Education Compared to Face-to-Face Education.” European Journal of Open, Distance, and E-Learning 1. Available at Accessed November 17, 2014.
  25. Johnson, Margaret. 2002. “Introductory Biology Online: Assessing Outcomes of Two Student Populations.” Journal of College Science Teaching 31 (5): 312–317.Google Scholar
  26. Johnson, Scott D., Steven R. Aragon, Najmuddin Shaik, and Nilda Palma-Rivas. 2000. “Comparative Analysis of Learner Satisfaction and Learning Outcomes in Online and Face-to-Face Learning Environments.” Journal of Interactive Learning Research 11 (1): 29–49.Google Scholar
  27. Levine, Peter. 2007. The Future of Democracy: Developing the Next Generation of American Citizens. Boston: Tufts University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Lim, Doo H. 2002. “Perceived Differences between Classroom and Distance Education: Seeking Instructional Strategies for Learning Applications.” International Journal of Educational Technology 3 (1). Available at Accessed January 11, 2011.
  29. Logan, Elisabeth, Rebecca Augustyniak, and Alison Rees. 2002. “Distance Education as Different Education: A Student-centered Investigation of Distance Learning Experience.” Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 43 (1): 32–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Macedo, Stephen, Yvette Alex-Assensoh, Jeffrey M. Berry, Michael Brintnall, David E. Campbell, Luis Ricardo Fraga, Archon Fung, William A. Galston, Christopher F. Karpowitz, Margaret Levi, Meira Levinson, Keena Lipsitz, Richard G. Niemi, Robert D. Putnam, Wendy M. Rahn, Rob Reich, Robert R Rodgers, Todd Swanstrom, and Katherine Cramer Walsh. 2005. Democracy at Risk: How Political Choices Undermine Citizen Participation and What We Can Do about It. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
  31. Martin, Pamela, Holley Tankersley, and Min Ye. 2012. “Are They Living What They Learn?: Assessing Knowledge and Attitude Change in Introductory Politics Courses.” Journal of Political Science Education 8: 201–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McCartney, Alison Rios Millett, Elizabeth A. Bennion, and Dick Simpson, eds. 2013a. Teaching Civic Engagement: From Student to Active Citizen. Washington, DC: American Political Science Association.Google Scholar
  33. McCartney, Alison Rios Millett, Elizabeth A. Bennion, and Dick Simpson, eds. 2013b. “Teaching Civic Engagement: Debates, Definitions, Benefits, and Challenges.” In Teaching Civic Engagement: From Student to Active Citizen. Washington DC: American Political Science Association.Google Scholar
  34. McLaren, Constance H. 2004. “A Comparison of Student Persistence and Performance in Online and Classroom Business Statistics Experiences.” The Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education 2 (1): 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Means, Barbara, Yukie Toyama, Robert Murphy, Marianne Bakia, and Karla Jones. 2009. “Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies.” US Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development. Available at Accessed January 11, 2011.Google Scholar
  36. Min, Seong-Jae. 2007. “Online vs. Face-to-Face Deliberation: Effects on Civic Engagement.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 12 (4): 1369–1387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Niemi, Richard G., Stephen Craig, and Franco Mattei. 1991. “Measuring Internal Political Efficacy in the 1988 National Election Study.” The American Political Science Review 85 (4): 1407–1413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Putnam, Robert. 2000. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Renewal of American Community. New York: Simon & Schuster.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ritzer, George. 2004. The McDonaldization of Society, 4th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.Google Scholar
  40. Rovai, Alfred P. and Kirk T. Barnum. 2003. “On-line Course Effectiveness: An Analysis of Student Interactions and Perceptions of Learning.” Journal of Distance Education 18 (1): 57–73.Google Scholar
  41. Russell, Thomas L. 1999. The No Significant Difference Phenomenon. Chapel Hill, NC. Office of Instructional Telecommunications: University of North Carolina.Google Scholar
  42. Russell, Thomas L. 2001. The No Significant Difference Phenomenon: A Comparative Research Annotated Bibliography on Technology for Distance Education, Montgomery, AL: International Distance Education Certification Center.Google Scholar
  43. Schumer, Robert. 2001. “Service Learning Is for Everybody.” In Developing and Implementing Service Learning Programs, edited by M. Canada, B. W. Speck, and M. Kramer. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
  44. Strait, Jean and Tim Sauer. 2004. “Constructing Experiential Learning for Online Courses: The Birth of E-Service.” EDUCAUSE Quarterly27 (1): 62–65.Google Scholar
  45. Summers, Jessica J., Alexander Waigandt, and Tiffany A. Whittaker. 2005. “A Comparison of Student Achievement and Satisfaction in an Online Versus Traditional Face-to-Face Statistics Class.” Innovative Higher Education 56 (4): 233–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Thirunarayanan, M. O. and Aiza Perez-Prado. 2001. “Comparing Web-Based and Classroom-Based Learning: A Quantitative Study.” Journal of Research on Computing in Education 34 (2): 131–137.Google Scholar
  47. Tucker, Shelia. 2001. “Distance Education: Better, Worse, Or as Good as Traditional Education?” Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration 4 (4). Accessed November 9, 2014.
  48. Urtel, Mark G. 2008. “Assessing Academic Performance Between Traditional and Distance Education Course Formats.” Educational Technology & Society 11 (1): 322–330.Google Scholar
  49. Waldner, Leora S., Sue Y. McGorry, and Murray C. Widener. 2012. “E-Service-Learning: The Evolution of Service-Learning to Engage a Growing Online Student Population.” Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement 16 (2): 123–150.Google Scholar
  50. Williams, Leonard and Mary Lahman. 2011. “Online Discussion, Student Engagement, and Critical Thinking.”, Journal of Political Science Education7 (2): 143–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wilson, Bruce M., Philip H. Pollock, and Kerstin Hamann. 2007. “Does Active Learning Enhance Learner Outcomes? Evidence from Discussion Participation in Online Classes.” Journal of Political Science Education 3 (2): 131–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. York, Reginald O. 2008. “Comparing Three Modes of Instruction in a Graduate Social Work Program.” Educational Technology & Society 11 (1): 322–330.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Suzanne M. Chod, William J. Muck, and Stephen M. Caliendo 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tanya Buhler Corbin
  • Allison K. Wisecup

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations