Satisfaction, Academic Rigor and Interaction: Perceptions of Online Instruction

By Wyatt, Gary | Education, Spring 2005 | Go to article overview

Satisfaction, Academic Rigor and Interaction: Perceptions of Online Instruction


Wyatt, Gary, Education


The recent explosion in the number of online courses offered at colleges and universities throughout the land has been both praised and scorned by members of the higher education community. Proponents of online instruction tout its ability to deliver courses and degree programs to students who are unable to attend traditional courses because of time, distance, work and family-related constraints, thus making higher education available to a new segment of the general population. Online instructors also report increased levels in the quality of interaction that takes place online compared with their traditional face-to-face courses because students have the ability to think about responses before posting them and are often freed from the constraints of "stage fright" that prevents shy students from contributing to class discussion (Maloney 1999). Furthermore they plug evidence documenting that the quality of online learning is comparable if not better than the quality of learning that takes place in traditional classrooms (Navarro and Shoemaker 2000, Redding and Rotzier 2001). Finally, proponents argue that the growth in online instruction is an inevitable result of advances in information technologies and as such should be embraced not shunned (See Feenberg 1999 for a brief discussion of the history and efficacy of online instruction).

Opponents of online instruction are skeptical of these claims. Many tend to view the growth of online instruction as being driven by university administrators looking for economical ways of increasing enrollments and by software corporations motivated to colonize higher education for financial gain (Blumenstyk 1999; Carswell, Thomas, and Petre 2000). They view the economic and human capital costs of developing and delivering online courses as a drain from resources that could be used to strengthen "tried and true" traditional class room instruction. Some critics fear that faculty members maybe forced into delivering online courses against their wills, they worry about intellectual property rights, and fear that online vendors and perhaps part-time employees will seize control of the curriculum. Some worry that quality control policies are often not in place for online courses and consequently an inferior product may be delivered; that online instruction may amount to little more than selling credits. Finally, opponents worry that online instruction isolates students from face-to-face social interaction that they believe is a vital part of a quality education (For a review of concerns about online instruction see Maloney 1999).

The benefits and threats listed above cannot be easily dismissed or easily answered and the debate about the merits and shortcomings of online instruction will undoubtedly continue for quite some time. Continued research is in order to analyze the benefits and costs of online instruction and continued effort must be made to include student opinion in this research. The purpose of the present study is to measure the opinions of students at a medium sized university in the Midwest about their perceptions of online instruction. Why do they choose to enroll in online courses in the first place? How do they compare online courses with the traditional classroom courses that they have taken in terms of educational worth, academic rigor, and quality of interpersonal interaction between themselves and their instructors and classmates? Finally what do we know about the demographic characteristics of students who choose online courses and how these characteristics influence their opinions of online instruction?

In this paper I will report the results of a recent survey research project that measured the opinions of a random sample of students at a medium sized public university in the Midwest who have completed both online and traditional classroom coursework. These students provided information about their motives for enrolling in online courses, their evaluation of the educational quality of online coursework, how satisfied they have been with the online courses they've completed, how the rigor of online courses compares with traditional class room courses, how the amount of interaction that takes place in online courses compared with traditional face-to-face courses, and finally their gender, age and academic level.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Satisfaction, Academic Rigor and Interaction: Perceptions of Online Instruction
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.