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Assessing Quality Dimensions and Elements of Online Learning Enacted in a Higher Education Setting

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dc.contributor.author Hathaway, Dawn M.
dc.creator Hathaway, Dawn M.
dc.date 2009-04-30
dc.date.accessioned 2009-07-25T22:02:10Z
dc.date.available NO_RESTRICTION en
dc.date.available 2009-07-25T22:02:10Z
dc.date.issued 2009-07-25T22:02:10Z
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/1920/4593
dc.description.abstract This study described how online learning is enacted in a university setting by addressing what university students reported about their perceptions of the quality of their learning in online environments and what university students reported about the ways in which online learning experiences were enacted across a large university. Using literature related to theories of teaching and learning as well as research-based elements of online design, a theory of online learning quality was developed that included six dimensions of quality interactions (instructor-learner, learner-learner, learner-content, learner-instructional strategies, learner-interface, and social presence) A questionnaire to assess the quality of online courses from students’ perceptions was created using the theory of online learning quality as a framework. The questionnaire was administered to undergraduate and graduate, full and part time students enrolled in online courses in the Fall 2008 semester at large, comprehensive university located in the metropolitan area of Washington, D.C. Six questions focused this study: 1. What do university students report about the quality of online courses? 2. What do university students report about the frequency with which certain quality elements are used in online courses? 3. Is there a difference in university students’ rating of overall online course quality by academic unit, academic load, and academic status? 4. Is there a difference in university students’ rating of overall quality in each dimension (instructor-learner, learner-learner, learner-content, learner instructional strategies, learner-interface, and social presence) by academic division, academic load, and academic status? 5. Which quality dimensions contribute to university students’ perceptions of overall online course quality? 6. Which quality elements contribute to university students’ overall perceptions of quality for instructor-learner interactions, learner-learner interactions, learner- content interactions, learner-interface interactions, learner-instructional strategies interactions, and social presence? Data were analyzed descriptively and statistically. Students’ reports about the quality of online courses and the frequency with which quality elements were used were analyzed descriptively. Several hypotheses were formulated and analyzed using ANOVAs and t-tests to determine if differences in students’ overall ratings of course quality and dimension quality existed. Multivariable regression analyses were used to determine which dimensions contributed to overall online course quality ratings and which quality elements contributed to overall dimension quality ratings. Data analyses showed that overall online course quality at the University was highly rated by students. Differences existed between the academic divisions for overall course quality rating, for learner-learner interactions, and for social presence. Several commonalities and distinctions were identified between academic divisions regarding overall course quality, dimension quality, and the frequency with which elements of quality were used in online courses. A difference also existed between undergraduates and graduates for overall quality of social presence ratings. Learner-content, learner-instructional strategies, and learner-interface interactions were identified as contributors to students’ perceptions of overall online course quality. Several design elements were identified as contributors to overall quality for instructor-learner interactions, learner-content interactions, learner-instructional strategies interactions, learner-interface interactions, and social presence. There were no learner-learner elements identified as contributors to overall quality of learner-learner interactions. Findings from this study provided the basis for several recommendations regarding the design of online learning environments and further research. In addition, a portrait of online learning at the University was crafted from the findings on students’ perceptions of overall course quality, overall quality pertaining to each dimension of interaction, and the frequency elements were used in the design of online courses.
dc.language.iso en_US en
dc.subject online learning en_US
dc.subject quality en_US
dc.subject quality indicators en_US
dc.subject higher education en_US
dc.subject online design en_US
dc.title Assessing Quality Dimensions and Elements of Online Learning Enacted in a Higher Education Setting en
dc.type Dissertation en
thesis.degree.name Doctor of Philosophy in Education en
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en
thesis.degree.discipline Education en
thesis.degree.grantor George Mason University en


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