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The Student

Armstrong, D. A. (2011). Students’ perceptions of online learning and instructional tools: A qualitative study of undergraduate students’ use of online tools. The Turkish Online Journal os Educational Technology, 10(3), 222-226. Retrieved from http://www.tojet.net/articles/v10i3/10325.pdf

This study investigated students’ perceptions of online learning and assessment of online learning tools in order to provide instructors with ideas for improvement of online learning programs. The author’s findings included the effect of sub-optimal online learning programs on the students’ approach to learning. Students who feel neglected by the instructor will not engage as deeply with the material and will resort to either surface learning or strategic learning to earn good grades without assimilating the material. This is an important pronouncement as a program may be declared successful based on student achievement but fall short in the depth of constructivist learning that took place.

Armstrong (2011) conducted a small-scale study of sixteen undergraduate students from two universities. Despite the limited subject base, instructors may find the results of the study to be helpful when planning online educational programs.  The author provides insightful assessments of the data that can be applied to new or existing online learning programs. The study showed that students place great importance on instructor interaction and communication in all phases of the learning process, including the resolution of technical issues with the online learning tools.


Submitted: 9/19/15 ddonelson

Dabbagh, N. (2007). The online learner: Characteristics and pedagogical implications. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education [Online serial], 7(3). Retrieved from: http://www.citejournal.org/vol7/iss3/general/article1.cfm
This article details the changes that have been seen in the online learner population.  Distance learning has evolved from paper correspondence to internet based programs.  The evolution of the distance education student is also discussed in the article; from needs based to computer savvy.  The change in learner characteristics brings the need to evaluate the planning process of online instruction.

Nada Dabbagh, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Instructional Technology Program at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.  Dr. Dabbagh had published articles, co-authored books, and presented at many scholarly venues.  This article discusses the changing online learning environment and would a good source for all stakeholders of online learning. 

Submitted 10/2/11 sjurysta

DeRoma, V.,  & Nida, S. (2004, Sep/Oct). A focus on hands-on, learner-centered technology at the Citadel.  Techtrends, 48(5), 39-43. Retrieved from http://www.springerlink.com/content/8756-3894/48/5/                   Authors DeRoma and Nida observe in this article that developments at “The Citadel” (South Carolina’s military college), of “blending technology with a learner-centered approach,” powerfully reflects the college’s attempts to bridge a teacher- and learner-centered gap created by growth in technology and distance education.  They posit that most students today, immersed from an early age in modern technologies which helped to spur this growth, are expecting, and more than capable of successfully applying, learning programs designed to “optimize” the use of those technologies.  Wholeheartedly committing to change, Citadel’s instructors have already incorporated at least 5 of 9 learner-centered goals enumerated as “hallmarks” by researchers. 

The Citadel’s attempts to change the way teachers think and plan, in providing technologically enhanced methods to promote successful learning, can help us to reflect on how well we may achieve this change ourselves.  The Citadel’s example is evidence of a movement in “higher education” intended to meet the challenges of this “new learning.”  Technology has progressed by leaps and bounds, and new learners are clamoring for educational experiences that fit developments. Researchers are reporting that universities are beginning to think beyond the bounds of traditional methods of “handing over” knowledge.  The research tends to show the stagnation in institutional response is beginning to dissolve. 


Fedynich, L., Bradley, K. S., & Bradley, J. (2015). Graduate students’ perceptions of online learning. Research in Higher Education Journal, 27, 1-13. Retrieved from http://www.aabri.com/manuscripts/142108.pdf

The authors conducted a study to determine graduate students’ perceptions of their online learning experiences in a higher education setting. The goal of the study was to add to the base of knowledge that informs quality online educational programs. The study showed that the instructor’s role is paramount to student satisfaction. A literature review is provided that outlines the characteristics of online learners and instructors. The authors conclude the paper with a list of recommendations for improving online educational programs.

The study included a wide base of graduate students from various colleges at a single university. The participants’ ages varied widely, as did their previous experience with online learning. The results of this study, along with the literature reviews, could prove helpful to instructors wishing to improve the quality of their online learning programs. The results of the study and the listed recommendations offer practical steps that can be implemented when planning online learning initiatives to improve student satisfaction and efficacy.


Submitted: 9/19/15 ddonelson

Jackson, M. (September 30, 2009). How to work and study while gaining a distance learning education. Popular Articles. Retrieved from http://www.populararticles.com/article176239.html                                    This article depicts some of the benefits of distance education. The benefits that are highlighted are that the student can work full time, take care of raising a family and still earn a degree. The article demonstrates the flexibility that can accompany distance learning. Distance learning may also present some challenges for the student. One of the essential elements that are necessary for the student is that they be organized and well-disciplined to be successful. Similar to an actual classroom setting an online student must put the time and effort into their classes if they possess the desire to succeed. 

This article does a fairly good job revealing the very basics for success with distance learning. The article also serves as an excellent reminder for any student who may be currently enrolled in a distance education class. It is clear through the article, that the student must possess discipline and manage their time efficiently. The author provides some good guidelines for the students to establish these goals. The reader however is left desiring more information on the intricacies of distance learning. For anyone contemplating distance learning, this article would be incomplete. The article only portrays one component of distance learning.

Jecklin, R. (September, 2010).  Online simulation of health care reform:  Helping health educators learn and participate.  International Electronic Journal of Health Education.  v13 p90-99.  Retrieved from:  http://www.eric.ed.gov/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=EJ895726                                                 This article provided opportunity for health care students to become activity involved in health care reform by performing an online simulation.  All students enrolled in Community Health Education and Radiation Therapy was required to take this class.  It was felt that the young adults were comfortable with learning through digital technology and played an important role on how they learned.

Learning about health care reform and participating in an online simulation provided two learning opportunities for students.  The program’s goals was to motivate students into taking an active role in health care reform to develop a better understanding of the health care crisis in the United States.  By engaging with fellow students through the online simulation, the students researched health care topics and discussed reform strategies.  The article was beneficial in providing another dynamic way to increase the interaction between education and technology for student development.

Submitted:  02/18/2012  kwalderbach

Kostina, M. V., (2011, September 7). 3 surprising ways that students view distance learning: Distance education hot topics.                                                                                                                                             The author focuses on the three ways students perceive distance learning. The first view describes distance learning as being a safe environment where students feel they can be more open and honest without feeling like they are put on the spot in front of their classmates. The second view explains why students feel they are in control of their learning. With the materials placed online, participants feel actively involved and driving their learning process. The final perception from students is that a certain degree of isolation is acceptable. Working online allow students to move through topics at their own pace.

This posting would be valuable for anyone wanting a student’s perspective on distance learning. The posting was concise and didn’t try to provide long explanations to support each finding. I agreed with the findings in the posting based on my personal experiences which led me to believe that the posting was reliable. This posting would be useful as a reference to support a paper assignment or research.

Submitted 9/25/11 sjones

O’Lawrence, H. (2007).  An Overview of the Influences of Distance Learning on Adult Learners.  Journal of Education and Human Development, California State University. 1(1).  Retrieved from http://www.scientificjournals.org/journals2007/articles/1041.htm

This study discusses distance education and what factors lead adult learners to participate in distance education. The study identifies advantages of distance learning, disadvantages of distance learning, and what influences and motivates adults to participate in distance education.  The authors concluded that instructional design methodologies are what really help adults learn online, not the technology. They also found that when creating a distance learning course, instructors should focus on the instructional needs of the students and not the technology that delivers the content.

This study is reliable, as it was published in a peer-reviewed journal with many references used as resources for further reading and proof of subject matter. This study brings up many valid points on distance education and looks at the subject from all angles. Educators, schools, and universities who are interested in looking at distance education as an option for expanding their studies would find this study very useful. This study gives valid points to both classroom and distance education learning and emphasizes that one must focus on the needs of the student rather than the technology used.


Submitted by S. Fanto 9/6/15 (Distance Education--The Student)

Roper, A. (2007). How students develop online learning skills. EDUCAUSE Quarterly, 30(1).  Retrieved: http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Quarterly/EDUCAUSEQuarterlyMagazineVolum/HowStudentsDevelopOnlineLearni/157435                                                                                                       This article highlights the results of a study of online learning skills taken by graduates who had earned their degrees by taking 80 percent or more of their courses exclusively online. Students achieving a 3.50 cumulative grade point average or higher were invited to participate in the study. The survey answers were open-ended and allowed respondents to describe their experiences and useful online learning techniques. Seven practical steps that helped the students succeed in their online classes are discussed.

The author highlighted several techniques instructors can use to help their students develop effective learning skills. The ‘use it or lose it’ and ‘applying the new material to what I already know’ technique were helpful in retention of course content. Time spent researching and crafting questions to make them clear and understandable also attributed to their success as the responses and dialogue would go deeper into the subject matter. The respondents also indicated the preference of instructors who logged-in often and asked many questions were helpful. Developing a time-management strategy proved to be most important in helping students manage course requirements as an independent learner.

Submitted: 2/21/11 cbmack

Shahbandari, S. (September 14, 2012). Technology makes learning enjoyable. GulfNews.com-UAE Education. Retrieved from http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/education/technology-makes-learning-enjoyable-1.1074933                                                                                                                                                The use of technology in schools is not a totally new concept in the UAE but much of it has been limited to the private sector but now, thanks to the efforts of the Ruler of Dubai, all schools will have access to the latest technology. A pilot program is already underway with all others to be aligned within 5 years. The use of technology such as laptops and the internet give students access to almost unlimited resources of information and learning opportunities.  Dubai currently allots almost one-quarter of their budget on education and with this new initiative that amount is expected to grow.

This article doesn’t point to any one specific aspect of technology but new technology as a whole to aid in teaching the children of Dubai.  The fact that the government allocates such a large amount to education leaves no doubt that these children will have access to state-of-the-art technology. We do live in a different time and we as instructors have to change with the times or get left behind.

Submitted: 09/14/12 kbrinson

Smith, K., Hessing, J. & Bichelmeyer, B. (2006, August). Graduate students’ perceptions and expectations of instructional design and technology. Tech Trends: Linking Research and Practice to Improve Learning, 50(4), 17-27.                                                                                                                                                           This article addressed the importance of understanding student’s perceptions and expectations in the field of Instructional Design and Technology (IDT).  Since graduate students are a vital group of stakeholders within the field of IDT, the authors chose to base the article around this group.  In IDT the solutions to problems take the form of all learning resources that are utilized to bring about learning.  These resources include messages, people, material and techniques.  In order to collect data from the graduate students a web based survey was developed.  This survey included a demographic section, program status and questions regarding student experiences.

I found this article to be very informative, and the authors did a great job studying student perceptions and expectations of graduate students.  This article would be beneficial to students and teachers of Instructional Design Technology.  Since the students and teachers will form the fields future academic and corporate leaders of the future.

Submitted: 9/15/2013 tsmith

Song, L., Singleton, E. S., Hill, J. R., & Koh, M. H. (2003). Improving online learning: Student perceptions of useful and challenging characteristics. The Internet and Higher Education, 7(1), 59-70. Retrieved from http://ac.els-cdn.com/S1096751603000885/1-s2.0-S1096751603000885-main.pdf?_tid=ef2b744e-3c8c-11e4-bdca-00000aacb35d&acdnat=1410753853_09e6025289153757507f17d788cc864b

This study, which composed of a sample of 76 graduate students, investigated learners’ perceptions of online learning. After assessing the face-to-face interviews with students, the researchers discussed aspects of online learning that were helpful to students, as well as challenges of online learning. Helpful components that led to positive online learning experiences included course design, learner motivation, time management, and ease in using online technologies. Conversely, challenging components included technical problems, a perceived lack of sense of community, time constraints, and difficulty understanding goals/objectives of the course. 

This is a useful tool for e-learning instructors because it will help in gaining awareness on the students’ perceptions of online courses. By understanding the challenges learners face, instructors and designers of e-learning can create ways to combat these challenges. This study was very detailed and includes both quantitative and qualitative data, as well as some suggestions for dealing with challenges in the discussion section of the article. This article is also very useful because it includes the interview questions in the appendix section. These interview questions can be adopted into an online course’s evaluation survey. 


submitted: 9/14/2014 pclemente