Year of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Educational Leadership

Department or School/College

College of Education and Human Sciences

Committee Chair

Frances L. O’Reilly

Commitee Members

John Matt, Daniel Lee, Roberta Evans, Martin Horejsi


Educational leadership, effectiveness of online courses, face-to-face instruction, high school Mandarin Chinese language, Internaitonal Educational leadership, Online learning


University of Montana


The debate over the effectiveness of online courses versus face-to-face instruction has been ongoing for more than twenty years. The researcher found that insufficient research so far has been done in foreign language programs at the high school level. The purpose of this quasi-experimental study is to help bridge the gap by assessing the effectiveness of high school Chinese online classes in Montana through comparing students’ performance under face-to-face and online Chinese high school courses. The two t-tests were conducted to compare the final course scores and the final oral test respectively between the two groups of participants under face-to-face and online Chinese courses. A mixed between-within subject ANOVA was conducted to assess the impact of the two different teaching methods on students’ performance in four assessments.

The major finding from the ANOVA indicated a statistically significant and practically important difference on students’ performance between the face-to-face and online groups and further supports that students in face-to-face classes performed better than their peers in the online classes in terms of high school Chinese courses. The non-significant results from the two t-tests, though requiring further examinations, may still be encouraging to some schools who want to make use of online courses to expand the educational resource access and enrich the global curricula. This study together with other previous research helps school leaders to be more fully informed as they respond to the current trend of global curriculum.

For the future studies, the researcher recommends: to use a larger sample size; to use different languages to further address the impact of language complexities and linguistic differences; to include factors such as learning level and student ability etc.; and to include in questionnaires on students’ experiences in online learning.

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