Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Student Satisfaction with Online Courses versus Traditional Courses: A Meta-Analysis
by Macon, Don Kirk, Ed.D., Northcentral University, 2011, 79; 3447725
Abstract (Summary)

Web-based education, because of its convenience, has become an important delivery method across multiple higher education contexts. In particular, online courses offer time and space flexibility that enable working adults to continue to keep their full-time jobs while earning college credits. As a result of this growing demand, junior and community colleges as well as 4-year colleges and universities continually seek to expand their online course and program offerings. Several studies have been conducted comparing student satisfaction with online courses and traditional classroom courses, but have yielded discrepant results. The purpose of this study was to examine existing empirical studies to determine whether there was a systematic difference in student satisfaction with online courses versus face-to-face classroom courses, and to determine if course subject matter or institution type (undergraduate versus graduate courses) moderated preferences for course format. A total of 59 effect size estimates from 13 studies published between 2000 and 2009 were available for analysis. The results indicated that (a) students tended to be more satisfied with traditional courses than with distance education courses; (b) course subject area had an effect on student preferences, with students in statistics courses preferring traditional education course delivery over distance education course delivery although there was no preference for either course format for students in business courses or other courses; and (c) course level had an effect on student preferences, with students taking undergraduate courses having higher levels of satisfaction with traditional course delivery formats than with traditional course delivery formats, although students in graduate courses had no preference. It was recommended that college administrators, curriculum designers, and course planners should understand that students tend to be more satisfied with traditional courses than with distance education courses, particularly for statistics courses and undergraduate courses, and should plan the curriculum accordingly. Future studies should explore differences in student satisfaction with distance education courses and traditional courses at 2-year institutions and graduate institutions because most studies have been conducted at the undergraduate level. The results from this study may assist educators and educational institutions in planning, developing, and executing online courses.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Shaw, Melanie
School: Northcentral University
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 72/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational evaluation, Adult education, Higher education
Keywords: Distance education, Internet education, Online course delivery, Student satisfaction, Traditional course delivery
Publication Number: 3447725
ISBN: 978-1-124-52034-6
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