Sense of community, satisfaction, and performance in a distance education program
Melanie G. Misanchuk, Indiana University, United States
Indiana University . Awarded
Although community is touted in the literature as providing many benefits to students learning at a distance, little rigorous work has been done on the topic. This dissertation looks at the relationships between community and satisfaction and community and performance among members of the first two cohorts of students in the Educational Technology Online Masters program at Large Midwestern University. A mixed-method approach, incorporating three quantitative measures as well as open-ended telephone interviews, was used. The study employs an accepted definition of community and a validated instrument (Rovai, 2001) based on this definition. The student satisfaction survey used was developed and validated by the researcher in a distance education context, and performance is measured by instructor rankings of the students. Scores from these three instruments were analyzed using chi-square tests and correlation analyses, and interview data were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Due to the small number of participants, the quantitative results of the study were not significant. There were no clear positive relationships between community and satisfaction or community and performance. The qualitative findings revealed 17 themes relating to community that describe the students' experiences in this program. The researcher concluded that using community as a panacea may not cause any pedagogical or non-pedagogical gains and that specific instructional strategies should be formulated to address students' varying needs. Further research needs to be done on larger populations, in order to validate the quantitative results, and comparisons between distance learners and students in face-to-face programs should be made. Because some large differences were found between the two cohorts, longitudinal studies of groups would also be useful, to better understand the different characteristics and needs of groups of learners as they progress through the program.
Misanchuk, M.G. Sense of community, satisfaction, and performance in a distance education program. Ph.D. thesis, Indiana University.
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Cited ByView References & Citations Map
Xiaojing Liu, Richard J. Magjuka, Curtis J. Bonk & Seung-hee Lee, Indiana University, United States
E-Learn: World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education 2006 (October 2006) pp. 2615–2621
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