Toward a student-constructed model of student services for electronic distance education Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/5999n656b

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  • The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe and communicate a student-constructed model of student services for electronic distance education (EDE). This study seeks to answer the following questions: Do students enrolled in EDE perceive a need for student services? If not, why not? Which services do students want/need? How do students want the services delivered? If students constructed a model of student services for EDE, what would it look like? A phenomenological approach was used. Qualitative data were collected through interviews with ten students, a document review, a survey of computer competency, and follow-up e-mail. Data were analyzed and systematically compared through constant comparative analysis and an inductive grounded theory approach was taken. One predominant finding that emerged from the conversations with the co-researchers was that of access for all students, particularly accommodations for those with special needs. Participants identified a number of services as basic to the EDE experience. They categorized services into three levels, expressing the expectation that services would evolve over time and technology. At each level a theme emerged that characterized the co-researchers' expectations and perceptions of student support services for EDE: access, interaction, and independence. The intent of level one was to provide entry to the college services and curriculum; access was used to define this level. The second level expressed the concern that students have the opportunity to interact with and be engaged by the services and the technology: interaction. The third level emphasized the need for information and services to promote independence, exploration, and autonomy in using electronic student services as well as to have available an "expert" for specific questions that are not easily or quickly answered by the services online. This level emphasized the use of real time transactions. The study concluded that students participating in EDE perceive a need for student services via distance. Participants further suggested that services provided to EDE must be equal and of the same quality as those traditionally delivered. Using the three levels that emerged from conversations with co-researchers - access, interaction, and independence - the researcher further classified the services into a model of student services using categories put forth by Namm and Holly (2000).
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