This study presents a quasi-experiment to assess differences in student performance and satisfaction between two different delivery modes online and face-to-face education. We collected data from 747 (373 face-to-face cohort, 374 online cohort) students enrolled in a general education science course at a liberal arts university. There was no self-selection of delivery mode by students, since this course is required, and delivery mode of one of the cohorts changed to online education due to the outbreak of COVID-19. We compare the learning outcomes of the two major course assessments (midterm test and research project) and student perception between the two delivery modes using quantitative and qualitative analyses. There was no statistical difference in the student scores on the development of medium-order analytical skills (i.e. midterm test) between the two delivery modes. However, online students scored statistically higher on the development of high-order analytical skills (i.e. research project), but scored statistically lower on measures of student satisfaction. Our study suggests that online education, when compared to the face-to-face education, although currently unfavored by students, is equally or more effective in the achievement of the learning outcomes.