Student Attitudes about Distance Education: Focusing on Context and Effective Practices

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Authors: Esther Smidt, Jennifer Bunk, Bridget McGrory, Rui Li & Tanya Gatenby, West Chester University, United States of America
Published: February 2014
https://doi.org/10.22492/ije.2.1.02

Citation: Smidt, E., Bunk, J., McGrory, B., Li, R., & Gatenby, T. (2014). Student Attitudes about Distance Education: Focusing on Context and Effective Practices. IAFOR Journal of Education, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ije.2.1.02


Abstract

There has been an unquestionable upsurge in distance education in recent years. Given this, it is extremely important to understand the experience of online courses from students’ perspectives. The purpose of the current qualitative study is to understand student attitudes about distance education in a specific context, namely that of a Mid-Atlantic mid-sized state university. We then translate our findings into practical recommendations for instructors. Data sources consist of journal entries written by 36 teacher candidates taking the course, Teaching English Language Learners PreK-12. Findings are categorized according to Course Characteristics, e.g. students have definite opinions about the use of the discussion forum, some of them negative, Instructor Characteristics, e.g. students see the need for interaction/synchronous communication and effective assessment, and Learner Characteristics, e.g. the appropriateness of distance education depends on student learning style and practical factors.

Keywords

distance education, student attitudes, effective practices