A quantitative study of student perceptions of factors likely to produce student-to-student conflict in the online learning environment
Donald Francis Logsdon, TUI University, United States
TUI University . Awarded
A quantitative study of student perception of the factors leading to student-to-student (S2S) conflict in the online course was conducted to fill a gap in knowledge. The sources of conflict (subscales) were based on Moore's Theory of Transactional Distance (Moore, 1993) and the model of the Centre for Conflict Resolution (2000). A modified version of the forced-choice, closed-end survey used by Huang (2002) was the instrument used, focusing on three dimensions and nine subscales of factors likely to produce conflict.
A paired-sample t-test analysis was used to compare the mean scores on the survey for the three dimensions, dimension one (course structure), dimension two (student attitude) and dimension three (student behavior). The mean score for dimension one was found to be significantly different from the mean score for dimension two, t(131)=-7.481, p<.001 and for dimension three, t(131)=-7.174, p<.001. The mean score for dimension two was not significantly different from the mean score for dimension three, t(131)=1.515, p=.132.
Correlation coefficients were computed for the three dimensions. The dimensions were found to be correlated with one another (p<.05). For dimension one versus dimension two, the coefficient was .885 and for dimension one versus dimension three the coefficient was .898. However for dimension two versus dimension three, the coefficient was .970.
A regression analysis was done using the dimension scores as dependent variables and the demographic variables as independent variables. The analysis showed that age and scocioeconomic level had a significant effect on the three dimensions (p<.001). Racial/Ethnic group has no significant effect on the three dimensions. Gender had a significant effect on dimension two and three (p<.001) but not on dimension one. Prior Computer Experience had a significant effect on dimension one (p<.001) but not on dimension two and three.
The study showed that the three dimensions were perceived by students as sources of S2S conflict. Further analysis demonstrated that student attitude and student behavior were more important sources of conflict than course structure. A qualitative analysis of comments made by students also identified student attitude and behavior as important sources of conflict. Online program administrators should focus on attitude and behavior in efforts to control S2S conflict and reduce the rate of student dropouts.
Logsdon, D.F. A quantitative study of student perceptions of factors likely to produce student-to-student conflict in the online learning environment. Ph.D. thesis, TUI University.
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