Dimensions of Student Satisfaction on Online Programs

Dimensions of Student Satisfaction on Online Programs

Petek Askar (Hacettepe University, Turkey), Oktay Dönmez (Hacettepe University, Turkey), Gonca Kizilkaya (Hacettepe University, Turkey), Volkan Çevik (Hacettepe University, Turkey), and Kerem Gültekin (Hacettepe University, Turkey)
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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