Course Management Systems in Transition: A Mixed-Method Investigation of Students Perceptions and Attitudesof Distance Education
Gary M. Szirony (University of Arkansas at Little Rock, USA) and Carrie J. Boden (University of Arkansas at Little Rock, USA)
Copyright © 2012.
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In the findings from the quantitative portion of the study, there were no significant differences between the three groups of interest. Most of the students in the sample preferred distance education to on-campus courses, asynchronous over synchronous learning, discussion boards over live chats, and video streamed content delivery over text-based delivery. For this sample, a change in course delivery systems did not have a negative effect upon students. In the findings from the qualitative portion of the study, five major themes emerged, those of Communication, Pedagogy/Androgogy, Time Management, Course Delivery Systems and Technology, and Access. Aspects of self-directedness appeared to be a theme throughout much of the qualitative analysis. Negative factors included inability to reach instructors in a timely fashion, lack of interpersonal contact with other learners or with instructors, and frustration over technological glitches and hardware, software or Internet complexities, or a mixture of the three. The role of emotion in online learning was significant in several areas, particularly to the theme of Communication, where a personalized learning environment with two-way communication between peers and the instructor can lessen the isolation of online learning. Further study in this area is recommended.