Perceptions of students and instructors of online and Web-enhanced course effectiveness in community colleges.

Tung, Chan K., Ph.D., University of Kansas, 2007.


The dramatic rise in online learning over the past 10 years has been especially evident in Associates Degree granting institutions with 72% of administrators agreeing that online learning is part of their institution's long-term strategy. Allen and Seaman noted that over 50% of community college students took at least one online course in Fall 2005. Student and faculty perceptions of online courses are becoming a critical factor to the success of education in community colleges.

Researchers note that a successful Web-based "Community of inquiry" model requires the interaction of three core elements: cognitive presence, social presence, and teaching presence. The BellSouth Foundation found that while teachers feel they are using technology to create new learning experiences, students have seen few changes. Prensky noted that there are significant differences in the perceptions and expectations of digital technologies by the current Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants. Consequently, studies of perceptions of course effectiveness between instructors and students are needed in order for instructors to deliver more effective web-based learning in community college settings.

This study used an extensive online course evaluation inventory to analyze the subjects' perceptions of course effectiveness in the following subscales: flexibility, user interface, navigation, getting started, technical assistance, course management (instructor), course management (student), universal design, communications, instructional design, and content. Surveys results compared perceptions across instructors and students and demographics, including age, gender, educational level, and course experience. Open-ended questions also provided some qualitative data for the study.

The results indicated that both students and instructors had positive perceptions of course effectiveness, with instructors having higher perceptions than students in subscales: getting started, course management (instructor), course management (student), communications, and content. Female instructors had higher perceptions than males in subscales: getting started, technical assistance, and universal design. Instructors with higher perceived technology skills had higher perceptions in subscales: flexibility, user interface, communications, instructional design, and content. Native-English-speaker students had higher perceptions in subscales: user interface and getting started. The results also indicated positive correlations between perceptions and teaching experience. This study suggests further research in the following subscales: flexibility, communications, and online instructional design.

236 pages