Using the Internet to Enhance Course Presentation: A Help or Hindrance to Student Learning

William J. Wellington, David Hutchinson, A. J. Faria


By the mid-1990s, the Internet came to be recognized as a powerful business tool. Publications began to emerge on building Websites. Today, the Internet is the world’s fastest growing communication technology. There are currently nearly 500 million Internet users worldwide with the greatest number of users in North America, Europe and the Asia/Pacific region. Internet penetration is well over 60 percent of the population in these areas (Lamb, Hair, McDaniel and Faria 2002). Use of the Internet and other electronic technology to enhance course presentation is growing rapidly. Delivering courses through the Internet is growing at the rate of 20% a year. Over 81% of all universities offer Internet delivered courses. A number of advantages and disadvantages have been cited for this form of delivery. Past research is inconclusive with regard to the value of Internet offerings for students. This paper presents a framework for examining Internet assisted course offerings and examines results from a survey of over 500 undergraduate students exposed to Internet delivery within a Principles of Marketing course. The survey results indicate significant declines in class attendance and examination performance with the addition of an Internet enhancement to the traditional course format.

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