Student Initiative Empowers Engagement for Learning Online

Houston Heflin, Suzanne Macaluso


Assessing the degree to which students engage and learn from their online courses will be important as online courses are becoming more ubiquitous. This study sought to capture student perceptions of their independence as learners, their level of engagement, their effort exerted, and the amount of information they learned in online courses. The study was conducted over three years with 455 students who completed a self-assessment at the end of an intensive summer online course. Results showed an equal number of students agreeing and disagreeing that online courses help students learn the same amount of information encountered in a face-to-face course. The majority of students reported they were more independent (84.4%), were more engaged (54.5%) and exerted more effort (57.4%), in their online course than a typical face-to-face class. Recommendations are made for faculty creating online courses who have the opportunity to coach students on how to succeed in the online learning environment.


Distance education, student engagement, pedagogical issues

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