Factors Related To Ethnically And Culturally Diverse Students' Motivation And Perceived Cognitive Learning Outcomes In An Online Instructional Setting
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentAdvanced Studies, Leadership, and Policy
ProgramDoctor of Philosophy
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SubjectsUniversities and colleges--Administration
This study examined the nature of communication experienced by ethnically diverse students who participated in an online distance education course. A quantitative survey research design was used to gather data from students enrolled in an online distance education course. The research examined whether the independent variables, (a) instructional immediacy, (b) model of distance education course, (c) student computer anxiety, (d) student computer experience and (e) student learning style were related to the dependent variables of students' motivation and perceived cognitive learning outcomes. Correlation and multiple regression analysis were used to analyze the quantitative data. Qualitative analysis was conducted on two open-ended questions that sought students' input on the strengths and weaknesses of the course, as well as suggestions for improving the course. The findings of the quantitative data suggested that (a) students' computer anxiety is significantly related to students' perceived cognitive learning outcomes and (b) the instructional communication variables (instructional immediacy, model of distance education course, student computer anxiety and student learning style) have a significant predictive relationship to students' motivation for taking an online course. Additionally, the qualitative analysis of responses to two open-ended questions regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the program, as well as suggestions for improvement, revealed comments across four pre-defined thematic areas: (a) contextual/environmental mood, (b) channel effectiveness, (c) message quality, and (d) instructional support. These thematic areas were adopted from the transactional communication process model. The results of the study provided support for viewing the interaction in online courses through the lens of the transactional communication process model. Students' comments also revealed that there are specific areas of the communication process within the context of an online distance education course that should be enhanced to effectively meet the needs of students.