Year of Publication

2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Education

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Dr. Xin Ma

Abstract

Colleges and universities worldwide have struggled to find a way to measure student satisfaction in online courses. This study examined the growth of math courses that are delivered in the online format. This study aims to address many gaps in the research literature concerning distance education using technology. In particular, it is the intention of this study to investigate satisfaction and performance of students as a result of taking online courses.

There has been an expanding concern over whether students are satisfied and can perform well in courses taken in an online environment. Satisfaction and performance in distance education have always been examined in comparison with traditional education that implements instruction through face-to-face interactions. A careful examination of the research literature also indicates that researchers apply vastly different ways to measure satisfaction and performance. This situation may well be responsible for the inconsistencies among empirical studies in the research literature.

The first purpose was to develop and validate an instrument that measures satisfaction regarding taking online courses. The second purpose was to predict student satisfaction (measured through the developed instrument) from the learning characteristics of an online environment. The third purpose was to predict student performance from student satisfaction (measured through the developed instrument) in an online environment. A deductive approach was adopted for this research project and utilized a quantitative research design including surveys. Survey data was collected from adult students who were students in the online College Algebra course at a certain Community & Technical College.

The instrument was developed and found to be reliable through confirmatory factor analysis. Using multiple regression for the second question, it was found that age (of students) demonstrated statistically significant absolute and relative effects on satisfaction with online mathematics courses. In other words, satisfaction with online mathematics courses depended on age both individually and collectively. Lastly, using multiple regression and ANCOVA to answer question three, it was found that gains from pretest to posttest did not depend on individual characteristics, learning preferences, and online (learning) environment. Meanwhile, gains from pretest to posttest did not depend on satisfaction with online mathematics courses.

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