Selected Topics from a Matched Study between a Face-to-face section and a Real-time Online section of a University Course


  • Mia Lobel
  • Michael Neubauer
  • Randy Sweburg



Two sections of an interpersonal skills building university course were observed for the purposes of this matched study. The face-to-face (F2F) section was in a classroom on the Concordia University campus in Montreal, Canada, while the non-turn-taking real-time online section used a Web application, LBD eClassroom© designed specifically for highly interactive large size classes and meetings. Two sections used the same instructor, facilitators, pedagogy, and course content. This study revealed a unique pattern of non-turn-taking synchronous interaction in the online section. Online students were found to be more likely to participate and express themselves. Interaction of online participants led to the creation of a group entity – a polis – a cornerstone for collaborative group learning. In contrast, in the F2F section, interaction followed the traditional classroom pattern – centered on the teacher or expert, resulting in fewer students interacting, and hence, lower interaction overall. In sum, during these three hour sessions, it was found that the nature of online non-turn-taking environment afforded online students more time to express themselves compared to students learning the same material F2F.

Author Biographies

Mia Lobel

Mia Lobel, M.Ed., has been instrumental in developing innovative programs since 1973 when she co-founded the Women’s Information and Referral Services of Montreal. In 1985, she received a M.Ed. in Educational and Counseling Psychology, from McGill University. Since then, she has been a part-time faculty member at the Department of Applied Human Sciences at Concordia University and a Psychotherapist in private practice. Ms Lobel has developed experiential modules to teach communication skills, conflict management, team building, and diversity for face-to-face and online academic and organizational learning groups. Mia Lobel can be reached via email at or at

Michael Neubauer

Michael Neubauer, MSEE, is an engineering physicist at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. He has consulted on a number of technical projects internationally. He has twenty years of management experience in technical disciplines and systems administration. His technical interests are in numerical analysis of complex multi-dimensional problems.

Randy Sweburg

Dr. R. B. Swedburg is a Professor and Chair of the department of Applied Human Sciences at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. His major research interests are in the areas of lifelong learning, successful aging, and lifestyle. These are areas where he has received many research grants, published frequently and is a speaker locally, nationally, and internationally. His teaching has covered many areas, most recently leisure education, older adulthood and lifelong learning. In 2001, Dr. Swedburg received the Concordia University Alumnae Award for teaching excellence. Fellow and Director, Concordia University Centre for Mature Students; Senior Fellow, American Leisure Academy; Past President of the American Association for Leisure and Recreation; Fellow, North American Society for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; and, Vice-President, Institute Development, Elderhostel Canada are all tiles Dr. Swedburg currently holds or has held.




How to Cite

Lobel, M., Neubauer, M., & Sweburg, R. (2005). Selected Topics from a Matched Study between a Face-to-face section and a Real-time Online section of a University Course. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 6(2).



Research Articles