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ERIC Number: ED519185
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 178
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1241-2737-8
Exploring Community College Student Perceptions of Online Learning
Morris, Terry Ann
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Northcentral University
Successful completion of online courses by community college students is an issue both at the national and local level. The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological study was to explore community college student perceptions of online learning within the theoretical construct of the Community of Inquiry model, which describes the manner in which the elements of social presence, teaching presence, and cognitive presence interact to create an educational experience. An opportunity to participate in the study questionnaire was offered to students at a Midwest community college enrolled in online courses within three disciplines: liberal arts, social science, and information technology. Twenty-five students completed a questionnaire about their online educational experiences. Seven students who provided information-rich responses were purposefully chosen from the questionnaire respondents for an interview. Artifact review of course syllabi and policies further informed the study. Interpretive analysis of data was utilized to identify themes and provide insights into student perceptions of satisfaction and success with online learning. The data analysis revealed five major themes: communication/interaction, instructor involvement/support, instructional design, learner engagement with content, and learner characteristics/needs. The study results indicated that communication and interaction through discussion board participation was a major source of engagement for online students, collaborative work was perceived to promote student engagement and involvement, formative assessment activities were deemed to be beneficial, and instructor support and feedback was perceived as affirming and helpful. The study results further demonstrated that student perceptions of course satisfaction, beneficial course activities, and self-predicted success were influenced by student individual characteristics, learning preferences, and learning goals. Recommendations for practical applications by instructional designers and faculty include the following: (a) design online courses with a variety of learning activities (such as mandatory discussion board participation, formative assessments, and collaborative peer review) to provide for individual learner characteristics, preferences, and goals; (b) purposefully utilize activities which support learning outcomes and are of perceivable benefit to students when choosing to incorporate new technologies; and (c) place a priority on providing prompt, supportive responses to online students. Further research in this area may explore larger populations or utilized mixed methods. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A