The Impact of Previous Online Course Experience on Students' Perceptions of Quality

Emily Hixon, Penny Ralston-Berg, Janet Buckenmeyer, Casimir Barczyk


The purpose of this paper is to explore whether experienced online students (who have completed seven or more online courses) perceive the quality of their courses differently than novice online students (who have completed three or fewer online courses) or students with an intermediate level of online course experience (those who have completed four to six online courses). Overall, 3,160 online students completed a survey which asked them to indicate the extent to which statements derived from the Quality Matters rubric contributed to student success. The results indicate that students rated some items differently based on their previous online course experience. Novice online learners felt that having netiquette guidelines clearly stated was more important than experienced online learners. Experienced learners rated several items as being more important than novice and/or intermediate online learners, including items related to self-introductions, appropriateness of assessments, relevance and quality of instructional materials, clarity of requirements for interaction, ease of navigation, and availability of required technologies. The implications of these findings for course designers and instructors are discussed.


Online learners; Online course quality

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