Cal State Fullerton Economics Professor Denise Stanley has been educating her students online for years, long before COVID-19 made it a necessity for many educators all over the world.
Stanley, who is an expert on Latin American and Caribbean economies, was selected as a Fulbright Scholar to the Dominican Republic for the 2019-2020 academic year. She intended to use this opportunity to expand knowledge of online, distance-learning by providing an international perspective, looking at content created and shared by professors at the Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE), a private university in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Caribbean nation.
She specifically looked at student outcomes in traditional in-person courses compared to hybrid courses that include both on-site and online components, and concluded that learning outcomes, engagement and satisfaction are uniform across the formats.
As has been the case for universities around the world, UNIBE has been forced to limit itself to online courses and other remote services due to coronavirus, which has led to night curfews, airport closures and stay-in-place conditions in the island nation of 11 million people.
Stanley has returned to the U.S. and cancelled her scheduled third trip to Santo Domingo, but UNIBE has successfully completed and published her review of Spanish-language literature on distance-learning, which can help institutions in Latin America continue educating the next generation of leaders.
Stanley is looking forward to how she might use some of the knowledge she has gained to build on more research, such as whether levels of digital engagement lead to better grades in online courses.