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This article in NSE

  1. Vol. 37 No. 1, p. 63-68
    Received: Dec 4, 2007

    * Corresponding author(s): aturgeon@psu.edu
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Loop-Imbedded (Non-Linear) Instruction Modules: A Novel Delivery Method for Online Learning

  1. Jing Dai and
  2. A. J. Turgeon *
  1. Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, 116 ASI Building, Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA 16802


Instructional modules are typically designed with the linear format of PowerPoint slide sets, thus mimicking classroom-based instruction with its temporal and spatial constraints. In an attempt to make instructional modules more student-centered and thus more individualized for online education, a prototype non-linear module was developed on the subject of physiology and culture of annual bluegrass (Poa annua L.). Alternative pathways were provided in the sample module by imbedding specialized clarification, preparation, and elaboration loops, which responded to the varying needs of a diverse student body. Forty introductory turfgrass students volunteered to review the sample module and complete a survey. The survey contained students’ background information, ratings of statements on specific features of the sample module, several short essay questions, and comments/suggestions. More than 90% of the students agreed the loop-imbedded (non-linear) modules are superior to the traditional linear modules. A majority of the students also indicated they prefer online courses in the non-linear format. Loop-imbedded (non-linear) modules can individualize students’ learning experiences and provide instructors with powerful learning resources to better meet the needs of a diversified student population.

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