Potential Research Questions
Do online classes increase student retention?
Are students who register for online classes initially more or less committed to completing the course?
Are students who have taken an online class more or less likely to take another online class if a choice is available?
Are the perceived benefits of online classes (flexibility, convenience) outweighed by the perceived pitfalls of distance learning (social isolation, delayed feedback, limited access to the instructor)?
Does prior student efficacy with the technology employed increase the success of students in an online environment?
Is there a statistically significant difference in student achievement between on online class and a traditional one?
Do students in an online class need to be more self sufficient and motivated than students in a traditional setting?
These questions might best be researched through both quantitative and qualitative studies. Sometimes an individual’s own perception of his/her efficacy does not match the actual amount of skill acquired. Surveys of perceptions and attitudes should be carefully constructed to highlight preconceived ideas and prior indications. Pre-course interviews and post-course interviews should explore changing attitudes to on line learning. One important concern should be to identify how student efficacy is affected by an online vs. traditional course.