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Learning via online activities (e-learning) was introduced to facilitate existing face-to-face teaching to encourage more effective student preparation and then informed participation in an undergraduate physiology laboratory-based course. Active learning was encouraged by hypothesis formation and predictions prior to classes, with opportunities for students to amend their e-learning submissions after classes. Automatic or tutor feedback was provided on student submissions. Evaluation of the course was conducted via student questionnaires, individual student interviews, and analysis of student marks in examinations and of the e-learning component. Student feedback on this entire subject in the university-wide quality of teaching survey was very high by University of Melbourne standards and most encouraging for the first implementation of such a curriculum modification. Results from further detailed surveys of student interactions and engagement and correlation analysis between student responses were also very supportive of the effectiveness of the course. There were no significant differences between examination marks in the new course with e-learning and the previous year without e-learning. However, there was a significant correlation between assessment of student e-learning work and their final examination mark. Correlation analysis between various survey responses helped interpret results and strengthened arguments for e-learning and suggested future improvements for student use of e-learning. This mode of e-learning used to support face-to-face learning activities in the laboratory can be adapted for other disciplines and may assist students in developing a greater appreciation and a deeper approach for learning from their practical class experiences.
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