Friday, 8 November, 2013

Paper Review: Students’ Perceptions of Online Courses: The Effect of Online Course Experience

Dobbs, R. R., Waid, C. A., & del Carmen, A. (2009). Students’ Perceptions of Online Courses: The Effect of Online Course Experience. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 10(1), 9–26,89,91.
This paper has provided an extensive literature review and has identified a gap that research regarding student perceptions of online courses is limited and has generally focused on those who have taken online courses. This paper reports the research in which data was collected from 180 students taking criminal justice courses on campus at a large 4-year university in the Southwest and 100 students taking criminal justice courses in an online program at that same university. The analysis has focus on differences in perception between students who have taken online courses and those who have not.

Key results are as follows:
  • Students in both groups generally agreed that it takes more effort to complete an online course.
  • Having the experience of taking online courses may increase one’s opinion of the quality of such courses, with increased experience further increasing this opinion.
  • Online course experience does not influence the perception of the youngest students because they might not be as self-directed in their learning style as the older students.
  • Online course experience seemed to matter slightly more for females than for males, with more significant results for the former group.

This paper indicates that a student would hesitate to choose an online course in the beginning but as he/she experiences online courses, his/her perception about online course becomes more favorable.

The results from this study confirms general observation that those who have not taken online course tend to hesitate to enroll for online course. But it is interesting to note that once a student experiences online course, his/her perception about online course improves. This is an important finding for the study of adoption of online courses.

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