Dimensions of Student Satisfaction on Online Programs

Dimensions of Student Satisfaction on Online Programs

Petek Askar, Oktay Dönmez, Gonca Kizilkaya, Volkan Çevik, Kerem Gültekin
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch091
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This research studies on the evaluation of online courses are usually conducted for investigating the differences between face-to-face and Web-based environments with respect to achievement. Most of the findings indicated “no significant difference” (Russell, 1999). However, only looking at achievement as a quality measure is reducing the complex phenomena into a single variable. Therefore, an analysis of the system with its components is needed. A study on students’ frustrations with a Web-based distance education course (Hara & Kling, 1999) showed that there were two foci of frustration among students in the course. The first focus was technological problems; students without access to technical support were especially frustrated. The second focus involved the course content and the instructor’s practices in managing communications with students. Students were frustrated because of a lack of immediate feedback from the instructor and ambiguous instructions on the Web and via e-mail.
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Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is a scientific discipline that investigates the interaction of humans with computer systems. The part of HCI that deals with the World Wide Web is often called Web usability. Usability is a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use. The word “usability” also refers to methods for improving ease-of-use during the design process. As Nielsen (2000) stated, there are five quality components of usability:

  • Learnability: How easy is it for users to accomplish basic tasks the first time they encounter the design?

  • Efficiency: Once users have learned the design, how quickly can they perform tasks?

  • Memorability: When users return to the design after a period of not using it, how easily can they reestablish proficiency?

  • Errors: How many errors do users make, how severe are these errors, and how easily can they recover from the errors?

  • Satisfaction: How pleasant is it to use the design?

ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is developing a new standard for Web usability. The new standard will be of interest to anyone who designs, evaluates or commissions Web sites, and it is likely to have a significant impact in improving the overall usability of the Web. ISO is engaged in developing a new standard titled ISO/AWI 23973 “Software ergonomics for World Wide Web user interfaces.” ISO has been developing ergonomics standards for more than 20 years and one of their sub-committees (SC 4) is responsible for standards in the field of human system interaction (Travis, 2004).

The standard contains detailed guidance in four main areas:

  • Purpose and strategy: What is the purpose of the site and how is this made clear to its users?

  • Content and functionality: What is the site’s conceptual model? How is content organised and how should the site deal with issues such as privacy and personalisation?

  • Navigation and interaction: How should the content be organised so that users can navigate the site easily? How will users search the content of the site?

  • Presentation and media design: How should individual pages be designed so that people can make use of the information? How should multimedia be used? (Travis, 2004)

Key Terms in this Chapter

Blended Learning: An instructional model, or instruction that combines two or more instructional models.

Instructional Design: The systematic method of how to plan, develop, evaluate and manage the instructional process effectively.

Web Usability: The part of HCI that deals with the World-Wide Web. It is a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use.

Interactivity: A reciprocal exchange between the technology and the learner, a process which is referred to as “feedback.”

Situated Learning: The creation of an environment where groups of students can, and do, explore and analyze, think and reflect, propose and act in the context of everyday situations.

Intelligent Agent: A program that makes use of AI approaches to provide timely contextual help or instruction to a learner.

Tacit Knowledge: Knowledge we don’t know that we know.

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