Making a Choice: The Perceptions and Attitudes of Online Graduate Students

Jan. 15, 2008

Source: Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, Volume 16, Issue 1, 2008, pp. 63-92

There has been an increase in the number of online universities, degrees, and coursework over the last decade. Institutions of higher learning are beginning to embrace online instruction more than ever before.
However, the motives behind enrollment and the benefits of online instruction have not always been clearly understood.
The purpose of this study was to discover why students participate in online courses, what their perceptions and attitudes were towards the academic integrity of the courses, and whether they would participate again in online instruction.
Data was gathered from a west coast private postsecondary institution through the use of a survey.

The 90 participants in the survey were enrolled in a graduate program in education, taking courses towards their teaching credentials and master’s degree.
The results of the survey paint a picture showing students’ desire for flexibility outweighing the apparent need for instructor and peer interaction as one of the driving reasons behind enrollment in an online course. Additionally, those surveyed report overall satisfaction with the online academic course content and instruction when compared to traditional classroom academic course content and instruction.
This research suggests that there are distinct factors that lead to enrollment and possible re-enrollment in online courses, and that satisfaction levels of online students are very high when discussing effectiveness of instruction and application of learned concepts.

Updated: Nov. 05, 2008