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Enhancing interaction in web-based courses: Instructional strategies

, University of Wyoming, United States

University of Wyoming . Awarded


When compared to their classroom experiences, first-time Web-based learners encounter significant differences in the way they interact with their instructor, course content and their peers. While many different interaction tools are available, from the common telephone to Internet-specific list-servs and “chat” forums, little research has been done to identify the interaction strategies that most contribute to student success.

In order to learn about the topic from the lived experiences of recent Web-based learners, a Delphi study based on the following question was conducted: “From the perspective of a first-time Web-based learner, what interaction strategies seemed to enhance successful learning?” Of the 35 students who returned a demographic survey, 19 college and university students completed the survey process. E-mail was used to gather opinions in the three-round study. Respondents largely agreed upon the strategies that most contributed to their success. The importance of active instructor involvement and need for reliable Web-based content were generally seen as most important to their success. A bias toward paper-based texts emerged, but the majority of study respondents were older and had at least a four-year college degree, so the bias may not be shared by younger undergraduate students.

From student comments and their ranking of important interaction strategies, it appears that online instructors may have spent more time composing and re-formatting content for publishing on the World Wide Web then they spent in making sure the students interacted meaningfully in ways that lead to success in learning.

From an analysis of the results, strategies that inform the practice of the researcher emerged. These center on the themes of active instructor involvement, content reliability and better use of the communication tools provided both by the Web and more traditional technologies. The results of the survey are not generalizable to a larger population, but may be useful to instructors and instructional designers of Web-based courses.

What seems to surface and be worth further study, is the need for online instructors to be more concerned with bridging the isolation caused by time and distance than in creating Web pages. A second finding, the need to intentionally foster learner's success through meaningful interaction with other learners, the content and the instructor also emerged.


Bernard, R.L. Enhancing interaction in web-based courses: Instructional strategies. Ph.D. thesis, University of Wyoming. Retrieved February 21, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

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