Monday, November 10, 2008

UCF/Sloan Study to Expand & Clarify Components of Student Satisfaction

Because the focus of my masters' thesis was online student satisfaction and retention, I was particularly interested in a session presented by UCF. This session featured the results of a Sloan funded study that expanded and clarified the components of student satisfaction in an asynchronous learning environment. UCF gathered data from 1996 to present. No surprise, the primary reason students gave for taking online courses was convenience and flexibility. So what's new, right? Students liked the ability to juggle lifestyle and felt that the online learning environment increased learning flexibility. Furthermore, students noted that they felt the technology enhancement of their learning was valuable.

On the less positive side, issues that were noted included: missing face-to-face opportunities, technical problems, reduced instructor assistance, increased workload and some felt overwhelmed in the online environment. Boomers indicated more satisfaction than millennials who voiced ambivalence (perhaps because their technology expectations were higher?)

The UCF construct for satisfaction included 8 elements:

  1. Reduce ambiguity with more clarity
  2. Enhance the sense of course value with feedback and recognition
  3. Reduce ambivalence and stress with recognition and connection
  4. Clarify engagement and expectations with more collaborations
  5. Increase responsiveness with connectedness, active participation
  6. Increase interaction - anywhere, anytime with peer conversations
  7. Make more augmentable with individual creativity, empowerment
  8. Provide more freedom with self-managed environment

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