Dual enrollment involves simultaneous enrollment in two or more courses at distinctly different educational levels such as secondary and tertiary. Dual enrollment programs can facilitate the transition of high school students into post-secondary education, and may reduce attrition rates in allied health programs. Dual enrollment is a rapidly growing segment of post-secondary education, yet there is a paucity of data concerning the nature and effectiveness for such programs in online nutrition education.
This project implemented a fully online undergraduate dual-enrollment nutrition course for high school and college students. Extent of attainment of course content was ascertained for all groups.
Study Design, Settings, Participants
USDA grant dollars were obtained to facilitate a two-year dual enrollment collaboration between college (C) and two high schools (HS1 and HS2). Two sections of junior-level high school students in HS1 (n = 11) and HS2 (n = 20), and one section of C (n = 29) completed a one-semester online three credit hour nutrition course. Course content focused on normal nutrition, was delivered using an online platform, and was identical for all students groups.
Pretest and posttest data were collected based on a 30-item nutrition knowledge test. A paired sample t-test was performed as well as an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) to compare group mean differences.
Paired sample t-test results indicate the mean difference between pretest and posttest scores (M = 32.4, SD = 20.8, N = 54) to be significantly greater than zero, t(53) = 11.5, P < .001, [two-tailed]. ANCOVA results indicate a significant difference between groups on posttest scores when controlling for pretest scores, F(2, 50) = 5.8, P = .01. Adjusted mean posttest score for HS1 was significantly different from mean posttest scores for HS2 and C.
The results indicate that delivery of the online introductory nutrition course in the dual-enrollment program was effective in significantly improving nutrition knowledge of both high school and college students.