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A Doctoral Dissertation by Nancy Calsolaro Smulsky, January 2012. As an online institution of higher education, Excelsior College strives to ensure delivery of high quality online courses leading to …
A Doctoral Dissertation by Nancy Calsolaro Smulsky, January 2012. As an online institution of higher education, Excelsior College strives to ensure delivery of high quality online courses leading to student success. A key benchmark for student success is student-faculty interaction (SFI). The decade-old National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) measures several benchmarks including student-faculty interaction but was designed with the traditional college student in mind. The purpose of this quantitative study was to explore the quality benchmark of student-faculty interaction (SFI) of nontraditional baccalaureate level college students seeking degree completion through online programs offered at Excelsior College. The research problem was to determine if Excelsior College's 2011 NSSE score for student-faculty interaction would differ if survey items were written in a context consistent with student-faculty interaction in the online learning environment. The same population of Excelsior College students who were invited to participate in the 2011 electronically delivered NSSE were invited to participate in an electronically delivered resurvey using SFI items from Bangert's (2005, 2006) The Student Evaluation of Online Teaching Effectiveness (SEOTE) tool. Although both tools are based on Chickering and Gamson's (1987) Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education, NSSE measured frequency of occurrence for each survey item, while SEOTE measured satisfaction. This study concluded that students feel interactions with faculty are infrequent, but they are satisfied with the actual interaction that does occur. It is recommended that a new survey be developed using one type of response scale; incorporate language and criteria consistent with the online learning environment; and also allow for open-ended, qualitative responses.