Satisfaction of graduate students with their distance learning experiences
Ellis, Kathleen A.
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The US is not developing its knowledge capital at the rate of many other nations. While other nations are dramatically increasing their knowledge base by increasing the percentage of their population with graduate degrees, the US level of citizens with graduate degrees is remaining stagnant (Hicks, 2004). To have the most immediate effect on levels of US workers with graduate education and to reach the greatest number of workers who have left academia and have established themselves in careers, education must be delivered in a manner that is the least disruptive to their lifestyles. The difficulty in availing themselves of campus-based learning may make distance education the most desirable option for graduate students due to its convenience. To develop our employment workforce with the graduate education that is required, we must address student satisfaction. This study surveyed graduate students across a research-intensive university taking distance courses in the fall of 2007 to address their satisfaction with the constructs of management, organization, membership, and instruction. The response rate was 47.2 percent. The demographic factors of age, external responsibilities, personal technical capability, and proximity to campus were included in a Manova to measure the effect of those factors on satisfaction with the five constructs. Age categories, levels of external responsibilities and commitment, and proximity to campus were not significant in predicting satisfaction among adult graduate students with their distance learning experience. The level of prior experience with distance learning was the only significant predictor of satisfaction.