Article: Digital Learning Impact Factors: Student Satisfaction and Performance in Online Courses
Authors: Chitkushev L, Vodenska I, Zlateva T
Journal: International Journal of Information and Education Technology, Vol 4, No. 4 (2014)
This paper explored the student evaluations of 93 online courses to gauge the interdependences as well as correlation between student performance in an online course and its relation to the performance of the instructor, the facilitator and the grades distribution.
This study analyzed surveys filled out by a total of 4920 students who were a part of 93 online courses over a period of 18 semesters. The students were surveyed on student satisfaction with the course based off of the variables of the instructor, the facilitator and the grades distribution.
The results of this study were interesting:
- It was found that the correlation between student satisfaction with a course and their satisfaction with their instructor is so high that it is statistically improbable to have student satisfaction of a course in which they were not satisfied with their professor and vice versa.
- It was found that if students were satisfied with their facilitator, they were likely more satisfied with their instructor and vice versa.
- Students are more likely to be satisfied with the course if they are satisfied with their facilitators.
- If students are satisfied with the course, it is statistically more likely that their grades will be higher.
This paper was well written and comprehensive for the reader. The range of data that was analyzed was a large range and to me seemed like an accurate representation of the population.
This paper brought out the basic question for me of how do we know (when we design an online course and execute it) if it was effective. Students learning outcomes are one way of assessing the overall effectiveness of the class.
However that does not mean that the student was necessarily satisfied with the course. This paper was able to highlight the key points for an instructor to keep in mind when it comes to student satisfaction. The student needs to be satisfied with the instructor if they are to be satisfied with the course. This correlation, I thought, was the most important one of all the other results.
In a traditional classroom setting the onus has always been on the instructor to create an effective classroom setting and a course that students are satisfied with. This becomes a tougher thing to do in the online pedagogy. (That seems like a lot of pressure for the professor.)
Another aspect that stood out to me was that if the student was satisfied with the course, their grades were likely to be higher in the class. This too makes sense to me since it seems like if a student is satisfied with the course and is engaged in the learning material, they are likely to work harder at the assignments and put in more effort, thus achieving a higher grade.
These outcomes are things to keep in mind for a teacher creating lesson plans and online classes. It is important that a professor conducting an online class understand how to best cater to their students. Otherwise, if the students are dissatisfied with the class, then the professor has essentially failed in his task to teach and facilitate learning.