Online Students: Relationships between Participation, Demographics and Academic Performance


  • J. Coldwell
  • A. Craig
  • T. Paterson
  • J. Mustard


culture, diversity, online learning, participation


Using information technology to support teaching and learning is becoming ubiquitous in tertiary education. However, how students participate and perform when a major component of the learning experience is conducted via an online learning environment is still an open question. The objective of this study was to investigate any relationships between the participation, demographics and academic performance of students in an information technology course that was taught wholly online. Through a detailed analysis of tracking data of student participation, which was automatically collected by the online learning environment, it was found that a relationship existed between students' participation in the online learning environment and their performance, as measured by final results in the course. Relationships also existed between gender, nationality, participation and performance. However, there was no relationship between age and performance and participation. These findings suggest that when designing online learning for a diverse population, student demographics should be taken into account to maximise the benefits of the learning experience.



1 Mar 2008