Why Choose an Online Course?

Why Choose an Online Course?

Lawrence A. Tomei (Robert Morris University, USA), April Kwiatkowski (Robert Morris University, USA), Lorie Brown (Robert Morris University, USA), Lori Pash (Robert Morris University, USA), Christine Javery (Southern New Hampshire University,USA), Julie A. Ray (Robert Morris University, USA) and Rae Ann Durocher (Southern New Hampshire University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-150-8.ch026
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OCICU is the Online Consortium of Independent Colleges and Universities and consists of five provider institutions which are located throughout the United States and Ireland. This consortium is the first of its kind to exist in distance education. The researchers wanted to understand why students choose to take courses through the consortium as well as why students opt for online learning instead of traditional face to face instruction. The research was limited courses that were completed in the Fall 2006, Spring 2007, and Fall 2007. The review of the literature revealed several factors of teaching online that affect why member schools recommend an OCICU course to their students and why these students succeed or fail in an online environment. The response rate of 25% diminishes the ability of this investigation to generalize to this population of 64 institutions.
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Significance Of The Study

As our society changes through the information age, and now into the telecommunication age, formal education has become essential for the economic success of individuals. Individuals seeking college course offerings are becoming increasingly diverse to include older, married, employed, and non-residential students (Beller & Or, 1998). A factor influencing higher education is increased competition for students. Universities are banding together to form consortiums to offer additional degrees and flexibility in course offerings. At many institutions, the effectiveness of distance and on-line learning methodologies has not been well researched prior to adoption. To better understand how these consortium course offerings are affecting the consortium member institutions and providing institutions, this study will provide insight as to the future of the OCICU and similar consortiums. The results will serve as a guide when determining what the future of the OCICU should entail. Should the entity grow by member institutions and provider institutions? Should the providing institutions expand course offerings?

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