The Importance of Synchronous Interaction for Student Satisfaction with Course Web Sites

By Cao, Qidong; Griffin, Thomas E. et al. | Journal of Information Systems Education, Fall 2009 | Go to article overview

The Importance of Synchronous Interaction for Student Satisfaction with Course Web Sites


Cao, Qidong, Griffin, Thomas E., Bai, Xue, Journal of Information Systems Education


As more affordable synchronous communications are becoming available, the use of synchronous interactions has not been

noted in course Web sites as often as asynchronous communications. Previous research indicated that the integration of

synchronous tools into course Web sites has made a positive impact on students. While most of the previous studies were

limited to open-ended questions and qualitative inquiries, this study extended the study of synchronous interaction by

performing a sequence of quantitative and in-depth data analyses to explore how important this factor is relative to

other

factors and how this factor affects satisfaction of students majored in Information Systems with course Web sites. In a

sample

of 102 undergraduate students who were taking classes offered by Department of Computer Information Systems, the 89

percent of those students were majoring in Computer Information Systems while the rest of them, except a few, were

pursuing

a minor in Computer Information Systems. Findings in this study suggest that improving student satisfaction with

synchronous interactions will effectively raise their overall satisfaction with course Web sites. While the delivery of

educational materials is undergoing a remarkable change from the traditional lecture method to dissemination of courses

via

Web-based teaching-support systems, improving student satisfaction with course Web sites is closely linked to quality

of day-to-day

teaching.

Keywords: synchronous interaction, course Web site, student satisfaction, principal component analysis, logistic

regression

1. INTRODUCTION

Information technology is considered by many researchers a significant breakthrough that facilitated the exchange of information and expertise and provided opportunities for learners. The delivery of educational materials is undergoing a remarkable change from the traditional lecture method to dissemination of courses via Web-based teaching-support systems (Robin et al., 1997; Keeney, 1999; Glahn et al., 2002; Morgan, 2003). Available technologies have made it possible to easily and efficiently set up course Web sites that included components such as course material storage and delivery, email communication, survey forms, online tests, online student grade inquiry, electronic document drop-box, whiteboard, asynchronous discussion board, and synchronous chat (Harvey et al., 2001; Koszalka et al., 2001). Moore (1989) identified the importance of interaction in distance education although the distance education might not be Web-based at the time the study was conducted. Since then, there have been a huge number of studies devoted to course Web sites, in which authors found the importance of interaction (Jonassen et al., 1995; Flottemesch, 2000; Liaw et al., 2000, Jonassen et al., 2001; Northrup, 2001, Ehrlich, 2002; Hirumi, 2002; Northrup, 2002; Bolliger et al., 2004; Dahl, 2004; Kelly, 2004; Su et al., 2005). For years, online instruction has relied primarily on asynchronous delivery of content, email exchanges and text-based discussion boards. Asynchronous interaction learning environment may increase student participation on learning activities (Picciano, 1998). Picciano (1998), Swan (2001), and Shea at el. (2002, 2003) reported that learner-instructor and learner-learner interactions are strongly correlated with student satisfaction and perceived learning. Richardson et al. (1999) compared the perceptions of two groups of students about the asynchronous interactions of instructor-learners and learners-learners. They found that students perceived learning was much more affected by the interaction between instructors and learners. Instructors' involvement and guidance and incentive for participation on discussion were found to be important to a meaningful and effective online discussion (Jiang et al. …

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