Members of a graduate level online course in instructional technology conducted a research study that explored people’s attitudes towards new media in education. The availability of online courses and the impact that they are having on education can not be underestimated. While the availability and ease of online classes attracts students who might not otherwise have access to education, ‘unfortunately, attrition from these programs is reaching epidemic proportions and, if educational institutions are to fulfill their commitment to offer courses equivalent to their traditional counterparts, they must investigate ways to address the learning needs and styles of different types of learners.’ (Terrell, 2005)
In an effort to address the learning need and styles this study examined the importance of experience and familiarity with students’ preferences in online education particularly as it related to podcasts. The study examined choice preferences for other types of media including email, enhanced podcasts, voip, blogs, and threaded discussions. Finally, the importance of choice itself was examined as it pertained to androgogical preferences.
These are important questions as we address the needs of all students, and attempt to relieve the high attrition rates online classes are prone to. This survey was rather informally done due to the nature of the class and the selection of participants, but the implications may well be critical to the future of new media in education.