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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/138

Title: Case study of community college adult learners online (A)
Authors: Tilson, Heather Lyn Becker
Keywords: Internet in higher education;Distance education;Educational technology;Technology in education;Adult learners;Web-based education;Online courses
Issue Date: 12-Jun-2003
Abstract: This case study investigated whether there was sufficient instruction and resources to provide a meaningful learning experience for adult learners online at a Philadelphia-suburban community college. This study addressed the factors that are changing the landscape of higher education: Web-based education competition, the increase of online course offerings, and the escalation of adult students in higher education. The research study was designed as a mixed methods case study. This mixed methods design included qualitative student interviews, qualitative analysis of course and institutional materials and artifacts, and quantitative analysis of Web course evaluation questionnaires. The results of the study were that students ranked technology dimensions above both course/program management and instruction/instructor dimensions. In addition, the following themes emerged at this college: (1) the Web courses were flexible and convenient for most learners, (2) for most students, the instructor employed learning strategies that facilitated understanding the material, provided sufficient interaction between the instructor and the students, and provided sufficient interaction between the instructor and the students, (3) most participants believed it was necessary to be self-motivated, and self-directed, (4) and in most instances, students had a high level of administrative support, access to essential instructional resources and reliable technology that sufficiently facilitated their learning activities. However, evidence indicated a need for course learning strategies that include multiple perspectives and case-based learning that closely resemble real-life events (Campbell, 1999). As a result, it appears the instructors and students would benefit from increased support in developing these types of learning activities. Within the context of this study, the conclusions were that: in most instances, adult students had meaningful learning experiences in the Web environment; a robust technology platform supported learning and was a critical factor in whether students learn well; and the course design and instructor significantly contributed to student achievement and satisfaction within a Web learning environment. As institutions of higher education continue to expand their Web-based educational offerings, they should continue to seek feedback from their students. Recommendations for further research conclude the report.
URI: http://dspace.library.drexel.edu/handle/1860/138
Appears in Collections:Drexel Theses and Dissertations

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