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Student Satisfaction in Distance Learning - Research Proposal Example

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The aim of this proposal is to investigate which elements have the largest impact on student satisfaction in the specific environment of Dublin Economic School. The main objective of the research is to identify and describe the major contributors and predictors of student satisfaction.

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Student Satisfaction in Distance Learning
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Download file to see previous pages The online enrollment estimations made in the late 1990s have been exceeded and continues to grow at amazingly high rates. Thus, the number of online students reached 2.6 million in the fall of 2004 (Allen, and Seaman, 2004). Despite the tremendous success of distance technology-mediated learning (this term covers not only fully online courses, but also various blended approaches that integrate online components into traditional classes), experts suggest that it still remains at an early stage of development (Smart, and Cappel, 2006).
The conventional concepts and theories of education were reported to retain their suitability in the web-based learning environment. Numerous research studies demonstrated that cognitive factors such as performance, learning, and achievement in distance education classes are comparable to those observed in traditional classes (Russell, 1999). Petracchi (2000) found out that students were pleased with the performance of their instructor, availability of materials, and performance of technological tools used for conducting the class. Some other studies found that undergraduates enrolled in an introductory psychology course performed better in distance education courses, although the level of their satisfaction with them was lower. Students in the web-based course consistently scored an average of five percentage points higher on the final exam than did those in the lecture course, but they consistently reported less satisfaction than the students in the lecture course (Hagel, and Shaw, 2003).
Student satisfaction is currently believed to be one of the major indicators of student development in conventional higher education. The mission of higher education is not only to impart knowledge but also to enhance the student's total development (Astin, 1993). One of the ways higher education institutions accomplishes this mission is by continuously collecting information on student satisfaction, defined by various authors as an "everpresent campus variable" (Betz, Menne, Starr, and Klingensmith, 1971: 99), the key outcome of higher education (Astin, 1993), and the 'quality enhancement tool designed to improve the quality of the student experience' (Harvey, Plimmer, Moon, and Geall, 1997: 3). Traditionally, the institutions of higher education have used the data on student satisfaction to improve understanding of the educational environments. This understanding, in its turn, allowed to create settings more conducive for student development.
Student satisfaction is an indicator of higher education institutions' responsiveness to the needs of students. Also, it is a measure of institutional effectiveness, success, and vitality. Measuring student satisfaction is also important for maintaining and increasing enrollment, managing attrition, and retention problems, and making better-informed decisions in the area of student affairs (Beltyukova, 2002).   ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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