Undergraduate Students’ Perceptions of Distance Education: Comparing Two Delivery Methods
The purpose of this study was to compare undergraduate students’ perceptions of interactive audio-video and web delivery of classes. Eight distance education classes were required as part of a Bachelor of Science degree in human resource development. Junior and senior students completed one audio-video and one web class each semester. The students were members of three intact cohort groups. Data was collected at the end of the first and fourth semester using a questionnaire with three sections. The first section included items about general perceptions of distance education. The second sections included items related to audio-video classes, and the third section included items related to web classes. Seventy percent of the students indicated a preference for web classes during the first semester of their program. At the end of their fourth semester, sixty percent of the students preferred web classes. The role of the instructor was important in both formats. Students emphasized that frequent communications from the instructor was important. Students said that work should be graded promptly and feedback was essential before they completed additional assignments. They valued clear expectations, specific instructions and examples. For audio-video classes, they recommended class projects and discussions rather than lectures and videos. In this study, most students preferred web classes because they could work on lessons at their own pace and fit their own schedule. Students felt their learning was adequate; however, the students did not have a great sense of accomplishment after completing the classes. They felt instructors did not fully interact with them during the classes.
Keywords: Distance Education
Dr. Dale E. Thompson
Associate Professor, Department of RHRC, University of Arkansas
Dr. Cecelia Thompson
Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Arkansas