A study of differential perceptions of students and faculty in distance learning

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Fuller, Shirley Ann

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The purpose of this study was to compare the perceptions of remote-site distance learning students participating in The University of Texas at Austin/University of Texas Pan American Educational Leadership Cooperative Doctoral Program, with the perceptions of same-program host-site students and with those of students in traditional University of Texas at Austin doctoral level core courses in Educational Administration. A second purpose of the study was to examine the perceptions of The University of Texas at Austin instructors of traditional and telecommunicated doctoral level core courses in Educational Administration. This study combined both quantitative and qualitative methods of inquiry. The quantitative information used a causal-comparative design and utilized a survey instrument. Part one of the instrument contained 21 Likert-scale statements which were grouped into four clusters. The clusters were course satisfaction, the physical learning environment, course structure, and student/teacher interaction. Part two of the instrument requested demographic and academic placement data. Part three of the instrument contained three open-ended questions which allowed participants to extend their input and to offer suggestions for improvement. Qualitative data gathering was accomplished using open-ended survey questions, participation in the setting, interviewing, and document review. Means and standard deviations were calculated for each of the three location groups in each of the four cluster groups and for the total instrument. Analysis of variance was applied to each cluster and to the total instrument. An analysis of variance and Post Hoc Tests of Multiple Comparisons were applied to determine if age, ethnicity or gender influenced results.