An Empirical Investigation of Factors Affecting Web-Based and Face-to-Face Student Satisfactions with Course Website

An Empirical Investigation of Factors Affecting Web-Based and Face-to-Face Student Satisfactions with Course Website

Qidong Cao (Winthrop University, USA), Xue Bai (Virginia State University, USA) and Thomas E. Griffin (Nova Southeastern University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jisss.2012040102
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Abstract

Course Websites have been considered an increasingly important part of online as well as face-to-face education delivery formats. While a vast body of literature has been devoted to comparison of the online and traditional face-to-face courses, little research of student satisfaction with respect to course Websites differentiated between the online and face-to-face students. In order to improve quality of course Websites, the effort was aimed at identifying important predictors of the satisfaction of online students and face-to-face students. This study conducted Fisher’s z transformation and test to compare correlation coefficients of each of Website features and the student satisfaction between two groups of student. Williams’ T-test was performed to compare correlation coefficients, with the student satisfaction, of different Website features within one group, online or face-to-face students. The results showed that online students and face-to-face students had different focuses on Website features. Educational administrators, instructors and system developers might accordingly apply limited resources on improvement of most important features to efficiently increase student satisfaction.
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Introduction

“Education is a service industry comprising 10 percent of the US GDP, second only to health care at 17 percent” (Larson, 2009). Countless studies have compared the online and traditional face-to-face courses. Considering course Websites an increasingly important part of the online as well as face-to-face educations, a growing body of literature has been devoted to student satisfaction with course Websites. However, little research of student satisfaction with respect to course Websites differentiated between the online and face-to-face students.

Assessment of website quality has become an important activity of Web development (Grigoroudis, 2008). Previous research indicated that course Websites have made a positive impact on students. Students found that course Websites enhance the understanding of course content (Buzzetto-More, 2008). A vast body of research was devoted to Web-based online classes. McGorry (2003) identified six factors that affected student satisfaction with Web-based classes: flexibility, responsiveness and student support, student learning, interaction, technology, and technical support. Web-based classes provided flexibility of timeless and location-less learning environment. Technical problems included problems of software compatibility, connection speed, network connection reliability, and server reliability. Technical problems were found having negative impact on students’ course performance (Allen et al., 2002; Buckley, 2003; Schoech et al., 2002). Instructors’ performance, such as timely feedback and interaction with students, was found more important than technology and significantly related to student satisfaction with course Websites (DeBourgh, 2003; Thurmond, et al., 2002; Mayzer et al., 2003; Roblyer et al., 2003). Thurmond et al. (2002) conducted a hierarchical regression analysis and found that student satisfaction was related to quality of online classroom activities, rather than student characteristics such as computer skills, knowledge of electronic communications, and number of Web courses taken. There is also an increasing use of course Websites in traditional face-to-face classes. Heines (2000) created a course Website to enhance traditional classroom instruction, and the study showed student satisfaction with the course Websites and statistically significant final grade improvement after the Web site was introduced. Ballard et al. (2004) found that course Websites helped the face-to-face students to access to course information and facilitated their communication with instructors and peers outside of classroom. Zubas et al. (2006) found that a face-to-face class supplemented by online tutorial has a positive impact on student learning. Liao et al. (2009) extended technology acceptance model to analyze the influential factors of the students' acceptance of blended e-learning, a mixture of classroom teaching and asynchronous learning. Topacan et al. (2010) found that information service adoption was influenced by service characteristics, user characteristics, intermediary variables, facilitating conditions, and social factors. Cross-country comparisons were made in literature to examine influence of cultural and economic factors. Wang et al. (2009) proposed a mathematical evaluation method and a linear programming model to compare educational information systems of twenty-one industrialized countries. Joseph et al. (2010) examined demographic factors for two populations (U.S. and Mexico) to compare their acceptance of information technology. Influential factors were also compared across industries. Kargin et al. (2009) used survey data to compare adoption factors in two different types of service.

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