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Perceived value and usefulness of online graduate

A brief presentation describing a survey performed to better understand the factors that students use in determining whether to take a graduate program online.

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Perceived value and usefulness of online graduate

  1. 1. Perceived Value and Usefulness of Online GraduateDegree Programs<br />Eric D. Brown<br />Kevin Williams<br />
  2. 2. Introduction<br />We wanted to understand the perceived value of an online graduate degree in 2011.<br />Has the ubiquity of the internet changed the societal outlook on online education?<br />Much research exists in ease of use and technology acceptance (Chiu, et. al., 2005; Compeau & Higgins, 1995; Davis, Bagozzi, and Warshaw, 1989; Doll, Hendrickson, Deng, 1998; Venkatesh & Davis, 2000), but little research as been aimed at factors that influence decision making towards online universities degrees. <br />Drennan, Kennedy, and Pisarski (2005) identify 2 key factors affecting student attitudes toward flexible online learning in management education: a) positive perceptions of technology in terms of ease of access and use of online flexible learning material and (b) autonomous and innovative learning styles. <br />Anecdotal evidence in the past suggested that online degrees and programs were considered to be less valuable and less rigorous than traditional programs<br />Our research attempts to understand the perceptions of current students working on a graduate degree via online learning<br />
  3. 3. Survey<br />Respondents were asked if they are currently or have previously taken coursework via an online graduate degree program. <br />If they have completed or are currently enrolled in an online graduate degree program, they were presented with two sets of questions:<br />The first set of Likert-scaled (strongly disagree, disagree, neither agree nor disagree, agree, and strongly agree) questions asked students a series of questions relating to how they feel about the online degree.<br />The next question asked students to rank the factors (from least to most important) involved in the decision making process in selecting an online degree program.<br />
  4. 4. Survey – Q1<br />Those that answered “Yes” (i.e., current or past online graduate students), were asked to rate the following set of questions:<br />Online graduate degrees are just as rigorous as traditional degrees.<br />I would recommend pursuing an online graduate degree to my friends/colleagues.<br />Online graduate degrees are just a valuable as traditional degrees.<br />The reputation of the school was very important when I decided on my online graduate degree program.<br />Flexibility was very important when I decided on my online graduate degree program.<br />Accreditation was very important when I decided on my online graduate degree program.<br />
  5. 5. Survey – Q1<br />Respondents ranked their responses using:<br />Strongly Disagree<br />Disagree<br />Neither agree nor disagree<br />Agree<br />Strongly Agree<br />
  6. 6. Survey – Q2<br />Those that answered “Yes” (i.e., current or past online graduate students), were asked to rank the following factors using a scale from 1 to 6 with 1 being the most important and 6 being the least important:<br />Flexibility<br />Reputation<br />Expense<br />Location<br />Delivery Methods<br />Accreditation<br />
  7. 7. Survey Results – Q1<br />
  8. 8. Survey Results – Q1<br />47.4% Strongly Agree that online graduate degrees are just as rigorous as traditional degrees.<br />56.1% Strongly Agree that they would recommend pursuing an online degree to their friends/colleagues<br />50.9% Strongly Agree that online graduate degrees are just as valuable as traditional degrees<br />47.4% Strongly Agree that the reputation of a school was very important in the selection process<br />67.9% Strongly Agree that flexibility is very important when selecting an online graduate degree<br />55.4% Strongly Agree that accreditation was important when selecting an online graduate degree<br />
  9. 9. Survey Results – Q2<br />
  10. 10. Survey Results – Q2<br />Flexibility was ranked as the highest deciding factor when selecting an online programwith 39.6% of respondents ranking it the highest factor<br />Location was ranked the least important by 30.0% of the respondents <br />Respondents seemed indifferent to the expense of an online graduate degree with 70.3% ranking expense as either 2, 3 or 4 in the ranking scale<br />
  11. 11. Discussion <br />During the fall term of 2008, it was reported that more than 4.6 million students took at least one online course, representing a 17% increase in online course enrollment since fall of 2007 (Allen & Seaman, 2009). <br />E-learning has become the norm in delivery of course content, providing a cost savings in many situations (Kruse, 2002).<br />
  12. 12. Implications<br />How do we make our online programs more attractive to potential students?<br />How do we retain our current students?<br />Some Answers<br />Maintain a positive reputation.<br />If students cannot come to us, we go to them!<br />Provide instruction in a variety of formats to enhance the learning experience of kinesthetic, audible and visual learners.<br />Provide flexibility in delivery methods of courses and degrees (F2F, Hybrid/Enhanced, online deliveries)<br />
  13. 13. Roundtable Discussion<br />
  14. 14. References<br />Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2009). Learning on Demand: Online Education in the United States, 2009: BABSON Surevey Research Group.<br />Kruse, K. (2002). Beginner Basics: The benefits and drawbacks of e-learning. Retrieved February 19, 2011 from<br />Chiu, C. M., Hsu, M. H., Sun, S. Y., Lin, T. C. & Sun, P. C. (2005). Usability, quality, value and E-learning continuance decisions. Computers & Education, 45, 4, 399–416.<br />Compeau, D. R. & Higgins, C. A. (1995). Computer self-efficacy: development of a measure and initial test. MIS Quarterly, 19, 2, 189–211.<br />Davis, F. D., Bagozzi, R. P. & Warshaw, P. R. (1989). User acceptance of computer technology: a comparison of two theoretical models. Management Science, 35, 982–1002.<br />Doll,W. J., Hendrickson, A. & Deng, X. (1998). Using Davis’s perceived usefulness and ease-of-use instruments for decision making: a confirmatory andmulti-group invariance analysis. Decision Science, 29, 4, 839–869.<br />Drennan, J., J. Kennedy, et al. (2005). "Factors Affecting Student Attitudes toward Flexible Online Learning in Management Education." The Journal of Educational Research 98(6): 331-338.<br />Venkatesh, V. & Davis, F. D. (2000). A theoretical extension of the technology acceptance model: four longitudinal field studies. Management Science, 46, 2, 186–204.<br />