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ERIC Number: EJ773536
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 29
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 6
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1521-0251
The Effect of an Orientation on Distance-Program Satisfaction
Pattison, Sherry A.
Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, v5 n2 p205-233 2003-2004
This article focuses on findings from the author's dissertation study on 100 teachers (K-12) from 13 states, who were beginning a video-based distance learning Master's Program at a western United States university during summer term 2000. The purpose of the study was to find out if a specially designed orientation booklet of activities that introduced students to the course model and facilitated study team collaboration could impact course satisfaction and program persistence. After researching factors that impact course satisfaction, the author designed an orientation booklet of pre-course activities for students. The booklet was then randomly distributed by the university to part of the study sample one week before student course materials arrived and the semester began. Students were instructed to complete the activities in the orientation booklet with their study team as their first assignment. All students in the study were interviewed during the first week of the course and again during the last week of the course. Their responses were recorded without the researcher knowing who had received an orientation booklet. Only after analysis of the total sample data, did the university disclose the identities of the control group (who had not received a booklet) and the experimental group (who had received a booklet). After disclosure the data were sorted by group and compared. The study revealed that the students with high course satisfaction and persistence had the following in common: a) predicted they would do well in the program; b) had a positive educational experience the last time they took a course; c) were very enthusiastic about the subject matter of the course; d) planned to apply the skills and knowledge they learned to the classroom; e) had intrinsic reasons for taking the program or a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic reasons; f) had a positive collaborative experience with their study team during the course; g) understood the importance of the study team and of time planning when starting the work in the course; and h) believed that high quality learning can take place with distance learning. The effect of the treatment (receiving the orientation booklet) on course satisfaction and persistence was positive. The orientation booklet appeared to cause the experimental group to score higher than the control group on all of these factors except "last educational experience being positive." The experimental group: a) had 47% less negative and 33% more positive entering thoughts than the control group; b) believed more that they would be successful in the program; c) had more intrinsic motivation; d) were more motivated to apply the skills they learned in their classrooms; e) had a better collaborative experience; and f) were 38% more satisfied with the course than the control group. The experimental group had one deferral to the next term but no drops, and the control group had 2 drops (5% of the group). The implication from this study is that paying attention to these factors via an orientation prior to program start can enhance course satisfaction and student persistence. Such an orientation can: a) assist students with getting to know their study team members; b) lay the foundation for working together; and c) provide a framework for understanding how the program works and what to expect. The following are appended: (1) Orientation Booklet: Orientation to Distance Learning; and (2) Comparison of Control versus Experimental Group Responses. (Contains 3 tables.)
Baywood Publishing Company, Inc. 26 Austin Avenue, P.O. Box 337, Amityville, NY 11701. Tel: 800-638-7819; Tel: 631-691-1270; Fax: 631-691-1770; e-mail: info@baywood.com; Web site: http://baywood.com
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A