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Title:
Feedback in distance learning do student perceptions of corrective feedback affect retention in distance learning?
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English
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Kielty, Lori S
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University of South Florida
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Subjects / Keywords:
student perception
non-traditional instruction
enhancing instruction
online learning
drop rates
Dissertations, Academic -- Instructional Technology -- Specialist -- USF   ( lcsh )
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government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )

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Summary:
ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a correlation between students' perception of corrective feedback and retention in online classes. A total of 134 community college students were enrolled in six online classes taught by three full-time instructors. The research questions addressed were as follows: RQ1. How are the students' perception of corrective feedback and student retention related? RQ2. Are students who attend course orientation meetings more likely to complete the course? RQ3. Are students who attend distance learning technical workshops more likely to complete the course? RQ4. Are students who have taken other online classes more likely to complete the course? RQ5. How are the students' perceived computer skills and student retention related? An exit survey was administered to gather quantitative data, which was then analyzed using Pearson's Phi Coefficient and Spearman's Rank Order Correlation. The study failed to indicate a sign significant relationship between (a) attending course orientation and retention, (b) attending technical workshops and retention, (c) prior online experience and retention, and (d) students' perception of computer experience and retention. The data indicates a significant relationship between students' perception of corrective feedback and retention. It is important to note that despite every attempt to solicit students who dropped the course, the students who dropped tended not to return the survey. Therefore, the sample did not accurately represent the population. As a result of the sampling error, there is little variability in the dependent measure; thus, the results have the potential of being biased. Based on the research finding for this study, educators would benefit from research studies that focus on the following: (a) exploring procedural changes (i.e. increasing the number of useable surveys, increasing the number of respondents, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the data validation process, and increasing the generalizability of the study, (b) exploring student perception of quality, timeliness and consistency of corrective feedback, and (c) conducting individual case studies with online students.
Thesis:
Thesis (Ed.S.)--University of South Florida, 2004.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
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by Lori S. Kielty.
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Title from PDF of title page.
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Document formatted into pages; contains 72 pages.

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University of South Florida
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aleph - 001469353
oclc - 55520496
notis - AJR1107
usfldc doi - E14-SFE0000255
usfldc handle - e14.255
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Feedback In Distance Learning: Do Student Perceptions Of Corrective Feedback Affect Retention In Distance Learning? by Lori S. Kielty A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Ed ucation Specialist Department of Education College of Education University of South Florida Major Professor: James White Ph.D. William Kealy, Ph.D. Cheryl H. Fante, Ed.D. Date of Approval: March 18, 2004 Keywords: online learning, drop rates, student perception, enhancing instruction, non traditional instruction Copyright 2004 Lor i Kielty

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i Table of Contents List of Tables ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... iii ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... iv Chapter 1 ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 1 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 1 Statement of the Problem ................................ ................................ ........................ 4 Importance of the Study ................................ ................................ .......................... 5 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ................................ 6 Definition of Terms ................................ ................................ ................................ 7 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 8 Assumptions ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 9 Summary of Chapter 1 ................................ ................................ ............................ 9 Chapter 2 ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 10 Literature Review ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 10 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 10 Theoretical Frameworks ................................ ................................ ....................... 11 Connectionism Theory ................................ ................................ .............. 11 Operant Conditioning Theory ................................ ................................ ... 12 Experiential Learning Theory ................................ ................................ ... 12 Conditions of Learning Theory ................................ ................................ 12 Role of the Instructor ................................ ................................ ............................ 14 Defining Feedback ................................ ................................ ................................ 16 Acknowledgment Feedback ................................ ................................ ...... 17 Informational Feedback ................................ ................................ ............ 17 Immediate Feedback ................................ ................................ ................. 17 Delayed feedback ................................ ................................ ...................... 17 Corrective Feedback ................................ ................................ ................. 18 Learning Management Systems ................................ ................................ ............ 19 Summary of Chapter 2 ................................ ................................ .......................... 21 Chapter 3 ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 22 Method ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. 22 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 22 Description of the Institution ................................ ................................ ................ 22 Distance Learning Mission Statement ................................ ...................... 24 Institutions Definition of Distance Learning ................................ ........... 24 Research Design ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 25 Instrumen tation ................................ ................................ ......................... 26 Variables ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 26 Independent Variables ................................ ................................ ............... 26 Dependent Variable ................................ ................................ ................... 28 Sampling Strategy ................................ ................................ ..................... 29 Procedures for Data Collection ................................ ................................ 29

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ii Research Questi ons and Hypotheses ................................ ......................... 30 Research Question 1: Perception of Corrective Feedback ........................ 31 Research Question 2: Attend Course Orientation ................................ ..... 32 Research Question 3: Attend Technical Workshop ................................ .. 32 Research Question 4: Previous Online Classes ................................ ......... 33 Research Question 5: Perceived Computer Skills ................................ ..... 33 Procedure for Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ..... 34 Summary of Chapter 3 ................................ ................................ .......................... 35 Chapter 4 ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 36 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 36 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 36 Research Question 1: Students Perception of Corrective Feedback ........ 38 Research Question 2: Attend Course Orientation ................................ ..... 41 Research Question 3: Attend Technical Workshop ................................ .. 43 Research Question 4: Perceived Computer Skills ................................ ..... 45 Research Questi on 5: Perceived Computer Skills ................................ ..... 47 Summary of Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ....... 50 Summary of Chapter 4 ................................ ................................ .......................... 51 Chapter 5 ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 52 Summary, Conclusions, And Recommendations ................................ .............................. 52 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 52 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 53 Recommendations ................................ ................................ ................................ 55 Procedural Changes ................................ ................................ ................... 55 Perception of quality, timeliness and consistency of corrective feedback 56 Conduct individual case studies ................................ ................................ 57 References ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 59 Appendices ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................ 64 Appendix A: Exit Survey ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 65 Appendix B: Informational Letter ................................ ................................ ..................... 66

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iii List of Tables Table 1 Research Question 1 ................................ ................................ ................... 3 1 Table 2 Research Question 2 ................................ ................................ ................... 3 2 Table 3 Research Question 3 ................................ ................................ ................... 3 2 Table 4 Research Question 4 ................................ ................................ ................... 3 3 Table 5 Research Question 5 ................................ ................................ ................... 3 3 Table 6 Research Question 1 Results ................................ ................................ ...... 3 8 Table 7 PC FTotal Analysis ................................ ................................ ..................... 40 Table 8 Research Question 2 Results ................................ ................................ ...... 4 1 Table 9 Research Question 3 Results ................................ ................................ ...... 4 3 Table 10 Research Question 4 Results ................................ ................................ ...... 4 5 Table 1 1 Research Question 5 Results ................................ ................................ ...... 4 7 Table 12 Survey Questio n 10 Results ................................ ................................ ....... 4 9 Table 1 3 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ............................. 50

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iv Feedbac k in Distance Learning: Do student perceptions of corrective feedback affect retention in distance learning? Lori Kielty A BSTRACT The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a correlation between students perception of corrective feedback an d retention in online classes. A total of 134 community college students were enrolled in six online classes taught by three full time instructors. The research questions addressed were as follows: RQ1. How are the students perception of corrective feedback an d student retention related? RQ2. Are students who attend course orientation meetings more likely to complete the course? RQ3. Are students who attend distance learning technical workshops more likely to complete the course? RQ4. Are students who have taken other online classes more likely to complete the course? RQ5. How are the students perceived computer skills and student retention related? An exit survey was administered to gather quantitative data, which was then analyzed using Pearsons Phi Coefficient and Spearmans Rank Order Correlation. The st udy failed to indicate a sign significant relationship between (a) attending course orientation and retention, (b) attending technical workshop s and retention, (c) prior online experience and retention, and (d) student s per ce ption of computer experience and

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v retention. The data indicates a significant relationship between students perception of corrective feedback and retention. It is important to note that despite every attempt to solicit students who dropped the course, the students who dropped tended not to return the survey. Therefore, the sample did not accurately represent the population. As a result of the sampling error, there is little variability in the dependent measure; thus, the results have the potential of being biased. Based on the research finding for this study, educators would benefit from research studies that focus on the following: (a) exploring p rocedural changes (i.e. increasing the number of useable surveys, increas ing the number of respondents, increas ing the efficiency and effectiveness of the data validation process, and increasing the generalizability of the study, (b) exploring student perception of quality, timeliness and consistency of corrective feedback, and (c) conducting individual case studie s with online students.

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1 Chapter 1 Introduction The number of students seeking a flexible alternative to traditional classroom instruction has spurred the rapid growth of distance learning. The demand for distance learning is not only evident in educa tional institutions, but also in business and industry which exhibit an incremental need for training in an alternative environment. To have a competitive advantage in a demanding workforce, individuals are continually seeking opportunities for acquiring n ew skills or for revising existing skills. To meet the needs of students, business and industry, educational institutions have been forced to develop and implement a wide range of academic disciplines in alternative environments. The field of education us es the terms distance learning and distance education interchangeably. A distance learning environment can range from a simple correspondence course, to a course that integrates sophisticated, interactive content. Distance learning takes place when a tea cher and student(s) are separated by physical distance, and technology (i.e., voice, video, data, and print), often in concert with face to face communication (Willis, 2002, ). Although there are many delivery methods used in distance learning, this re search will focus on community college, Internet based/online classes. The concept of distance learning is not new (McIsacc & Grunawarden, 1996 ). The roots of distance learning date back to the 19 th century (Hanson, et al, 2003, History of Distance Educati on). The development of the postal system provided educational institutions the medium required to offer correspondence courses (Phipps & Merisotis,

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2 2003). Although correspondence courses did not remain a popular form of distance learning, the instruction did fill a niche for its time. However, as technology progressed, distance learning went through tremendous changes. The once popular correspondence courses were gradually replaced with more innovative approaches to distance learning. These drastic change s in the distance leaning environment have required educators continually to seek more affordable and efficient ways of delivering high quality, interactive content to a diverse population. In the 20 th century the development of radio, television and othe r media resulted in many new distance learning opportunities that allowed distance learning to grow (Hanson, et al, 2003). Today distance learning may incorporate the following: (a) voice, such as interactive technologies of telephone, audio conferencing, and short wave radio, and passive audio tools such as tapes and radio; (b) video in the form of still images, film, video tape and real time moving images combined with audio conferencing; (c) data such as computer assisted instruction, computer managed in struction and computer mediated education; and (d) and print in the form of textbooks, study guides, workbooks, course syllabi and case studies (Willis, 2002). It is clear that distance learning encompasses all technologies and provides life long learning to all ages. Distance learning is used at all levels of education including Pre K through grade 12, higher education, home school education, continuing education, corporate training, military and government training, and telemedicine (U.S. Distance Learni ng Association, 2003). The U.S. Department of Educations National Center for Education Statistics released a new report titled Distance Education at Degree Granting Postsecondary Institutions: 2000 2001. The report states that more than half of the

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3 na tions two and four year institutions, representing 2,320 institutions, offered distance learning courses in 2001 2002, totaling approximately 3.1 million enrollments. Additionally, the study showed that public institutions were more likely than private institutions to offer distance education courses. Ninety percent of two year and 89 percent of four year public institutions offered distance learning courses. Private, two year institutions were considerably lower at 16 percent, and four year institutions at 40 percent ( Waits & Lewis 2003). The technological revolution and the fact that the population is getting older and adults are increasingly pursuing advanced degrees have been the driving force behind the unparalleled increase in the area of distanc e learning (Danesh, et al, 2003, ). According to the United States Distance Learning Association, the United States is faced with retraining 50 million American workers, corporate America is using distance learning, both internally and externally, for a ll as pects of training (USDL, 2003 ). Furthermore, a great deal of money is saved each year by using distance learning to train employees. Training in the distance learning environment has proven to be more effective and more efficient than training with t raditional methods (USDL, 2003 ). Distance learning is a perfect fit for the varying schedules of nontraditional students (Eskey, 2003); therefore, educators express optimism that distance learning will encourage more students to seek higher education (Dubo is, 2003, Working Connections Presentation). Over the past twenty years, the number of credits community college students enroll in each semester has declined. Responsibilities due to job and family commitments have resulted in students taking fewer credit hours each semester. At this pace, it takes approximately 12 years to complete a four year degree (Dubois, 2003,

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4 Working Connections Presentation). As the student profile changes, educational institutions are forced to provide alternative delivery methods Distance learning is a viable solution for learners who face obstacles, due to job responsibilities and family commitment, when seeking an education (Danesh, 2003). Students do not necessarily want to take online classes, but their responsibilities proh ibit them from completing degrees in the, on campus environment (Dubois, 2003, Working Connections Presentation). Thus, distance learning fills a critical need. Without distance learning opportunities, many students would not be able to complete their educ ation in a timely manner, or at all. Statement of the Problem One of the biggest challenges in distance education is student retention ( Student Retention ). With the estimated 2.2 million distance learners in the U.S. by the end of 2002, identifying the re ason(s) students are not completing distance learning courses is important to the instructional technology field (Re za bek 2001). Only after researchers identify the reasons for high attrition rates can educators develop strategies to reduce these rates. D rop rates for distance learning courses are consistently higher than traditional courses. As a result, many researchers feel that distance learning education is inferior to traditional education (Diaz, 2002). However, there are a vast number of reasons for distance learning students to drop out of classes. Students probably drop out of distance learning courses for reasons different from those in traditional courses. Instructional technologists need to know more about why students drop courses; researchers should not assume that drops are synonymous with academic non success, nor should they discredit distance education as an alternative

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5 means of instructional delivery (Diaz, 2002). It is important to understand why students drop out of distance learning cl asses so that the appropriate steps can be taken to reduce student drop rates. Students need support and direction to enable them to make the transition from traditional classroom environments to self directed learning, particularly tools to help them mon itor their progress and obtain timely feedback on their activities (Sherry, 1996 Factors which influence success, ). Factors such as the amount and nature of feedback received from the instructor and facilitators of a distance learning course play a par t in the eventual success of the student (Deans, 1998). Feedback is one of the most important concepts in learning ( Theory into Practice 2003). The feedback received from the instructor plays a part in the success of the student (Deans, 1998). The lack of effective feedback is the potential Achilles heel of distance education (Willis, 2002, Learning is enhanced, ). Therefore, instructors need ensure that feedback is integrated into the instructional design process of distance learning classes. Import ance of the Study Distance learning has seen phenomenal growth over the past five years. This growth clearly shows the demand for distance learning courses. If educational institutions follow through with their plans to increase the number of course offeri ngs, it is safe to assume that the growth of distance learning will continue to be significant over the next few years (2001). It appears that distance learning will continue to be utilized by an increasing number of students who find it difficult, and in some cases impossible to attend traditional face to face instruction. Distance education programs provide educational opportunities to learners who would otherwise not receive an education. As a

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6 result, educators need to seek ways of improving student rete ntion in online classes. Improving corrective feedback is a viable solution to the retention problem. Distance learning is a dynamic process, (Spitzer, 2001) and as such, requires continuous revisions and fine tuning to be an effective instructional deliv ery method. Improving corrective feedback needs to be a part of the ongoing refinement process. Research Questions The study will focus on the following research questions (RQ): RQ1. How are the students perception of corrective feedback and student retentio n related? RQ2. Are students who attend course orientation meetings more likely to complete the course? RQ3. Are students who attend distance learning technical workshops more likely to complete the course? RQ4. Are students who have taken other online classes more likel y to complete the course? RQ5. How are the students perceived computer skills and student retention related? Research question one addresses the primary focus of the research students perception on corrective feedback. However, factors other than the actual feedback received by the instructor may effect to the students perception of corrective feedback. Factors that may e ffect the students perception of corrective feedback include the students (a) attendance at the course orientation meeting, (b) attendan ce at a distance learning technical workshop, (c) previous experience with online classes,

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7 and (d) perception of their computer skills. Therefore, research questions two through five were constructed to address these concerns. Definition of Terms The follo wing terms will be used throughout the study: Distance Learning as referenced in this study takes place when a teacher and student(s) are separated by physical distance, and technology (i.e., voice, video, data, and print), often in concert with face to face communication (Willis, 2002, ). A definition of distance learning at the institution in this study involves any formal approach to learning in which the majority of instruction occurs while the instructor and learners interact synchronously or asy nchronously at a distance employing technology to facilitate the educational experience with learners (Bennett, 2003). Online Class is a form of distance education delivered over the Internet (Johnson, et al, 200 0 ). At this institution, online classes are defined as classes that are distributed through the Internet and allow for flexibility in time and/or place constraints normally encountered in traditional, on campus classes (Bennett, 2003). Hybrid Classes and Web Enhanced Classes are used interchangeabl y, referring to classes that are a blend of a traditional and an online class. Retention is defined by the researcher as a student who completes the course with an institutionally recognized grade, not an incomplete (I grade) or withdraw (W grade). WebCT is the Learning Management System that is used to deliver online courses at the institution in the study. Learning Management Systems are software programs used to deliver online courses.

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8 Corrective Feedback is defined by the researcher as any comments o r suggestions an instructor gives a student (verbally or in writing) on any assignments, quizzes and exams. Distance Learning Help Desk Technician is a staff member who provides technical support to faculty developing online classes and students taking on line classes. Limitations 1. With a vast amount of training and classes available online, the level of experience may vary from student to student. Even though the research participants were from classes that are typically taken the first year of college, the students will enroll in the online classes with different levels of computer experience. With the instructor, the distance learning help desk technician, and the researcher promoting additional training workshops, the gap in the computer experience requir ed to complete an online class is expected to decrease. 2. The researcher attempted to collect data from all students enrolled in the online classes selected for this study. However, there is a possibility that students may not want to participant in the stud y, or students may bypass the instructor and drop the class before completing the survey. The number of students choosing not to participate in the study or dropping a class in the study before completing the survey is expected to be very small; therefore, it will not have a significant effect on the results of the study.

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9 3. Although the researcher and the professor attempted to have all participants who chose to drop the class complete an exit survey, there is the possibility that some participants may drop a course without completing an exit survey. This number is expected to be very small; thus, it will have no significant effect on the results of the study. Assumptions 1. It is assumed that students will answer the exit survey questions honestly. 2. The sample po pulations perceived level of experience will be similar to students at other community colleges. Summary of Chapter 1 Distance learning has become a core educational strategy in the 1990s, with a reach that extends to a broad cross section of institutio ns and curriculum providers around the world (Walsh, 2003, ). The need for distance learning is evident at educational institutions, business and industry. With an increasing demand for training, educational institutions will need to continue to seek in novative approaches to delivering high quality training in nontraditional environments. Since one of the most serious challenges in distance learning is identified as student retention, further research is necessary to identify the reason students are not completing online classes. The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a correlation between student perception of corrective feedback and student retention in online classes, and if so, to identify the strength of the relationship. The results o f this study will guide instructional technologists in the development and implementation of online classes, as well as instructors delivering online classes.

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10 Chapter 2 Literature Review Introduction The literature reviewed for this study included that w hich (a) identified the theory related to corrective feedback, (b) described the role of the instructor in a distance learning environment, (c) described types of feedback used in education, and (d) identified Learning Management Systems used in online edu cation. Distance education, which was once considered a poor and often unwelcome stepchild within the academic community, is becoming increasingly more visible as a part of the higher education family (Phipps & Merisotis, 1999; Danesh, et al 2003, Histor ical and Definition, ) With a significant increase in the number of enrollments, courses, degrees and certificate programs being offered through distance learning, measures need to be devised and implemented to decrease the number of students who drop o nline classes. The retention problem in distance learning classes will increase as instructors are pressured into moving to the distance learning arena. With a heightened sense of competitiveness to get classes online (Willis, 2000), educational institutio ns are encouraging instructors who do not necessarily want to teach online to develop and teach distance learning classes (Dubois, 2003, Working Connections Presentation). Many instructors are encouraged to teach online to be able to offer complete degrees or certification programs through distance learning. However, developing and delivering distance learning classes takes more time and effort on the part of the instructor. A key to effective distance learning facilitation is the instructors willingness a nd enthusiasm to

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11 embrace the technology (Spitzer, 2001). With such a demand to offer online courses, there is an increase in the opportunities for mismatching traditional faculty to the online environment (Dubois, 2003, Working Connections Presentation). A s instructors struggle to cope with the overwhelming demands of teaching a distance learning course, providing students with corrective feedback on their progress becomes an ongoing challenge. Theoretical Frameworks The effect of feedback in an educational environment has been studied as early as 1911. Any approach to instructional design should be grounded in a theory or conception of the teaching learning process (Gibson, 1998, p. 78). A well grounded theory provides instructors with guidelines for desi gn decisions (Gibson, 1998). Gibson paraphrases Winn and states that, w ithout a guiding conception, instructional design is reduced to a set of techniques or procedures ( 1998, p. 78 ). Theories that have contributed to the concept that feedback is critica l in the learning process include the following: connectionism theory, operant conditioning theory, experiential learning theory, and co nditions of learning theory. Connectionism Theory Thorndikes law of effect, which falls under connectionism theory, sta tes that feedback acts as a connector between responses and preceding stimuli (Mory, 1996). The stimuli and response framework allows students to form associations, that lead to learning. For example, as the instructor responds to student questions, quizze s and exams (the stimuli) with corrective feedback (responses), learning occurs. The associations that are formed become strengthened or weakened depending on the nature and frequency of

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12 the stimulus and response pacing (Theory Into Practice, 2003). Thornd ikes connectionism theory paved the way for others to study feedback. Operant Conditioning Theory Reinforcement is the key element in Skinners operant conditioning theory. Skinners study of programmed instruction led to the conclusion that feedback in p rogrammed instruction served as both a reinforcer and a motivator. When learners are presented with stimuli, response will follow (Theory Into Practice, 2003; Galbraith, 2003). The use of positive and negative reinforcement strengthens the stimulus respo nse bond (Galbraith, 2003). Experiential Learning Theory According to Carl Rogers, the humanistic teacher is primarily a facilitator of learning (Tomei, 2003). Unlike a traditional teacher who assumes full responsibility for the learning process, a humanis tic teacher shares the responsibility of learning with the students (Theory Into Practice, 2003). To encourage students to be self motivated independent learners, instructors should give frequent, early, positive feedback. Students should also have the opp ortunity to practice skills and receive feedback regarding their performance (Major & Levenburg, 1999; Davis, 2003). In addition, students expect their instructors to provide timely and quality feedback (Illinois Online Network, 2003). Conditions of Learni ng Theory Gagnes conditions of learning theory states that the same types of instructional activity are needed for all learning processes and learning outcomes (Theory Into Practice, 2003). The nine instructional events that provide the necessary conditio ns for learning include the following: (a) gaining attention, (b) informing learners of the

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13 objective, (c) stimulating recall or prior learning, (d) presenting the stimulus, (e) providing learning guidance, (f) eliciting performance, (g) providing feedback (h) assessing performance, and (i) enhancing retention and transfer. Gagnes theory suggests that when feedback is given, marking all examples as correct/incorrect, the student is reinforced for a certain behavior Gagne goes beyond the behavioral aspect and adds assessing performance and enhancing retention and transfer (Theory Into Practice, 2003). Some have used the terms reinforcement and feedback interchangeably; however, the two words have very different meanings depending on the context. Although T horndike and Skinner have contributed to the concept of feedback, their view s are from a behavioral perspective From a behavioral perspective reinforcement is defined as a stimulus event, or outcome that occurs following a response that increases th e likelihood that the learner will produce the same (or a similar) response in the future (Zook, 2001, p 322) Unlike the other theorists, Gagne adds a cognitive dimension to stimulus response based studies e.g., intellectual skills Zook defines the cognitive perspective of reinforcement by paraphrasing Bangert Drowns, Kulik, Kulilk, & Morgan, as meaningful information that learners can use to guide and regulate their own learning processes, not just external consequences that strengthen stimulus r esponse associates (2001, p 322). Furthermore, t he cognitive function of reinforcement is known as feedback, which is defined as any communication provided to learners to inform them of the quality of their performance and to help them improve the qual ity of their learning (Zook, 2001, p 322).

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14 Role of the Instructor Distance learning instructors take on the role of a facilitator, rather than a communicator of a fixed body of information (Sherry, 1996, Theories and philosophies, ). The instructor s responsibility includes assembling course content and developing an understanding of student needs (Willis, 2003, Key Players in Education ). A distance learning environment requires the instructor give up some control over t he teacher led learning process (Buckley, et al, 2003, Academia/Teacher Perspective, ). Changes distance learning teachers face may include the following: (a) changing from oracle and lecturer to consultant, guide, and resource provider; (b) becoming expert questioners, rather than providers of answers ; (c) providing structure to student work and encouraging self direction; (d) moving from a solitary teacher to a member of a learning team; (e) moving from total control of the teaching environment to sharing with the student as fellow learner; and (f) the breakdown of the teacher learner hierarchy (Berge, 2003). T he learning process must be designed to encourage and challenge learners to construct their own meaning and create new knowledge ( Gibson, 1998, p. 91 ). The World Wide Web enables educational institutions a convenient and inexpensive medium to deliver online education to a diverse population (Hara, 2003). Educational administrators are enticed by the money making potential of online classes (University of Illinois Facul ty Seminar, 1999, p. 17). M any educational institutions have rushed to implement distance learning programs (Green ). As a result, instructors were provided with little or no training in developing or teaching online classes (Price, 2003). With no seat or t ime restrictions in online classes, the classes could be virtually open to everyone. However, because high quality online teaching is time and labor intensive, it

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15 is not likely to be the income source envisioned by some administrators (University of Ill inois Faculty Seminar, 1999, p. 2). Teaching the same number of students online, at the same level of quality as in the classroom requires more time and money (University of Illinois Faculty Seminar, 1999, p. 2). The increased workload is due in part by the students expectation that the instructor is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition, students often expect instant responses to questions, discussion postings, quizzes and exams (Ikpa, 2000). When students need assistance, the though t of waiting 24 or 48 hours for an e mail response from the instructor, or waiting a week or two for feedback on an essay is not acceptable to many students. Distance learning students find the turn around time to be one of the major disadvantages of dista nce learning (Zvacek, 2003). Research shows learning occurs more rapidly and with more generalizability when students receive immediate and continual feedback (Sp ir a, 1998). However, the increased workload makes it difficult for instructors to respond in t he timeframe that meets student expectations. Therefore, students need to be informed early in the semester how long the instructor will take to respond to questions and grade assignments, quizzes and exams. Providing students with reasonable expectations about when they should receive feedback will reduce anxiety (Ikpa, 2000). Distance learning environments have required instructors to take a critical look at existing methods of providing students with corrective feedback. Teaching in a distance learning environment eliminates most of the visual cues instructors rely on to adjust their instructional methodologies (Smaldino, 2003). Distance learning instructors can no longer rely on the same student teacher interaction provided in a traditional classroom.

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16 W ith the absence of face to face interaction instructors lack the non verbal visual cues and body language that are used in the communication process. In a distance learning environment instructors do not have the advantage of quickly glancing around the ro om to verify that students are paying attention or to engage in conversation after class to verify that students understand the course material (Smaldino, 2003). Therefore, feedback has been identified as a key to effective distance learning facilitation. Non responsiveness is extremely discouraging to distance learning students. It is critical to provide students with prompt feedback, but for distance learners this feedback is most important (Spitzer, 2001). Compared to traditional instruction, instructor feedback in the distance learning environment is more of an individualized process. This process requires instructors to provide students with feedback on a consistent basis. Defining Feedback Feedback is one of the most important concepts in learning ( Th eory into Practice 2003). Ideally instructors would provide each student with detailed, personal feedback on all assignments, quizzes and exams. However, the time constraints in teaching an online class prohibit instructors from providing such extensive f eedback on a consistent basis (Graham, et al, 2001). Therefore, instructors should be aware of the types of feedback that should be integrated into distance learning classes. The literature shows an extensive amount of research on the types of feedback com mon in the educational environment. The types of feedback discussed in the literature include: acknowledgment feedback, informational feedback, immediate feedback, delayed feedback, and corrective feedback.

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17 Acknowledgment Feedback Acknowledgement feedbac k is feedback that confirms or assures the student that some event has taken place. For example, the student submits an assignment through e mail and the instructor responds with a message that informs the student that the assignment was received without a problem. In distance learning classes, acknowledgement feedback is often neglected because it requires purposeful effort on the part of the instructor (Graham, et al, 2002). In a distance learning environment, instructors should give immediate acknowledge ment feedback upon receipt of an assignment since the student lacks the assurance of having physically "handed in" the assignment (Achtemeier, et al, 2003). Informational Feedback Informational feedback is feedback that is informational or evaluative. Resp onding to student questions and posting assignment grades or comments are examples of informational feedback (Graham, et al, 2002). Immediate Feedback Immediate feedback refers to the various types of feedback that become immediately accessible to the stu dent as the student engages the learning process (Bogen, et al, 2001, ). For example, quizzes or exams can be set up to provide the correct answer with an explanation of why the answer is correct or incorrect. Delayed feedback Delayed feedback refers to the type of feedback given to a test taker at the end of the questioning process, e.g., participant answers all of the questions, submits his or her evaluation, and then receives the correct answers (Bogen, et al, 2001, ). Craig Ogilvie,

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18 (2003) from Iowa State University, conducted study on the effects on immediate and delayed feedback. Students were provided with detailed and specific feedback after submitting the assignment; however, one group received immediate feedback whereas the other group rece ived delayed feedback. The group that received feedback immediately after submitting the assignment showed slightly higher gains than students who received feedback delayed by a few days. In addition, Draper ( 1999 ) states that Bangert Drowns, Kulik, Kulik, and Morgan conducted a meta analysis that reviewed 53 studies that compared immediate feedback to delayed feedback in test like events. The researchers concluded that immediate feedback is more effective (p. 9). Corrective Feedback Feedback can be said t o describe any communication or procedure given to inform a learner of the accuracy of a response (Mory, 1996). As evidenced in the literature, there are many types of feedback that a student could receive from an instructor. The type of feedback that will be studied in this paper is corrective feedback. A working definition of corrective feedback is any comments or suggestions an instructor gives a student (verbally or in writing) on any assignments, quizzes and exams. Corrective feedback does more than si mply inform the student whether an answer is correct; it provides the student with specific suggestions on how to improve the answer or gives additional information or resources to help guide the student to the correct answer. In most cases this procedure leads to a better understanding of the course material. Therefore, instructor feedback should not only supply students with information about their performance, but it should provide the student with self assessment (Looms, 1997). Factors such as the amoun t and nature of feedback received from the instructor of a

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19 distance learning course play a part in the eventual success of the student (Deans, 1998). Students need to be given useful and corrective feedback throughout a course (Smith Gratto, 2003). Suggest ions for improving feedback include: (a) making detailed comments on written assignments that refer to additional sources for supplementary information; (b) returning assignments without delay; (c) taking note of students who do not participate during the first session and contacting them individually; and (d) integrating a variety of delivery systems for interaction and feedback, including one on one conference calls, e mail and computer conferencing (Willis, 200 2 ). Learning Management Systems Many of the first online courses required instructors to rely on a Web master to update and maintain their online classes (Dubois, 2003, Working Connections Presentation). With the rapid growth in the number of online classes, updating and maintaining multiple Web pag es for numerous classes became very laborious. As online classes evolved, there became a need to have instructors manage their own course content. The development of Learning Management Systems provided instructors with the tools to easily manage course co ntent (Dubois, 2003, Working Connections Presentation). Built in features that assist instructors in developing online classes include a bulletin board, chat area, e mail, discussion groups, calendars, and online assessment. In addition, administration fe atures allow instructors to create student accounts, archive e mail messages, discussion groups and grade assignments (Hazari, 2003). The features available in learning management systems have the potential to add to the efficiency and effectiveness of an online class (Dubois, 2003, Working Connections Presentation).

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20 WebCT and BlackBoard are two of the most popular Learning Management Systems used by Florida community colleges for administering online classes (Cobb, 2003, Working Connections Presentation). However, a new learning management system called Desire2Learn is expected to become very popular because it combines the flexibility adherent in WebCT and the ease of use of BlackBoard (Sharpio, 2003, Desire2Learn Demonstration). WebCT and BlackBoard have formed partnerships with textbook companies that offer Web based courses. Both instructors and students benefit by these partnerships. Instructors can use a textbook that has course content available online that is ready to use, or, if desired, modificati ons can be made to customize or personalize the content. The partnerships benefit the students by providing additional course content, as well as online test banks. Online quizzes and exams can be very time consuming for instructors to create; however, wit h textbook companies providing the test banks instructors are able to offer more testing opportunities online (Hazair, 1998). Quizzes or exams that are conducted online using course management systems can be set up to provide feedback immediately or to pro vide feedback after all the students have submitted the particular quiz or exam, making it easier for the instructor to provide prompt feedback.

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21 Summary of Chapter 2 The literature suggests that feedback is an important element in the instructional process Not only do students use feedback to improve performance, (CLIO Centre for Assessment Studies, 2000), but students expect feedback (Illinois Online Network, 2003). With distance learning opportunities growing at a tremendous rate, educators need to ensur e that corrective feedback is integrated into the instructi onal design process of distance learning classes.

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22 Chapter 3 Method Introduction The purpose of the study was to determine if there is a correlation between students perception of corrective f eedback and student retention in online classes. The research questions attempted to meet the developmental goals of offering a creative approach towards solving instructional design problems, while at the same time contributing to the design principles th at can guide future development efforts (Reeves, 2000). The study focused on the following research questions: RQ1. How are the students perception of corrective feedback and student retention related? RQ2. Are students who attend course orientation meetings more likely to complete the course? RQ3. Are students who attend distance learning technical workshops more likely to complete the course? RQ4. Are students who have taken other online classes more likely to complete the course? RQ5. How are the students perceived computer skills and student retention related? Description of the Institution The institution selected for this study was a community college that has offered distance learning classes since 1988. The first distance learning courses consisted of

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23 telecourses, which required students to watch video tapes provided by third party vendors or in some cases produced by the instructor. Since videotaping an entire class was extremely time consuming, instructors typically turned to third party vendors to purchase video instr uction. Continually renewing the licenses that were required to distribute video instruction became cost prohibitive. Not long after the inception of telecourses, the institution progressed to interactive classes. The telecourses and interactive classes me t the need for the time; however, these technologies were very limited. Rapid technological advances, equal access issues, and cost paved the way for an alternative medium for delivering online classes. In April, 1997, the institution made the decision to offer online classes. At that time five full time instructors and one adjunct instructor volunteered to develop six online classes scheduled to be offered in fall 1997. Enthusiastically, the instructors, with the help of the Web master and one another, des igned and implemented their classes in fall 1997. In fall 2002, the college wide goal of offering a complete A ssociates of A rts degree online was met. The development of online classes created the need for a distance learning committee to oversee the deve lopment and implementation of the new learning environment. As a result, a task force was established to identify the institutions distance learning mission statement and to create a working definition of distance learning. Later, a distance learning comm ittee, consisting of administrators, faculty, and staff, was established to oversee the institutions distance learning issues.

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24 Distance Learning Mission Statement The institutions Distance Learning Committee Mission Statement states that Distance Learni ng strives to provide flexible, accessible, quality courses to students who desire an alternative delivery method for learning (Bennett, 2003, Distance Learning page). Institutions Definition of Distance Learning The Distance Learning Task Force studied various definitions for distance and distributed learning and adopted the following working definitions for this institution: 1. Distance learninginvolves any formal approach to learning in which the majority of instruction occurs while the instructor and learners interact synchronously or asynchronously at a distance, employing technology to facilitate the educational experience with learners. 2. Distance learning responds to the needs and goals of students for flexible, accessible programs and courses and t akes place in the form of online courses via the Internet, telecourses, and interactive television courses through video conferencing equipment in the classrooms. In online and telecourses some on campus meetings may be necessary dependent upon the class a nd the instructor. 3. Academic, learning resources, student services, technical, and administrative support are provided for all forms of distance learning programs and courses. A community college has an open door policy that applies to traditional classes, as well as online classes. However, not all students are ideal candidates for online learning. As a result, the distance learning committee developed and deployed a self test for potential online students. From the institutions home page, students can acc ess the

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25 self test entitled Are Online Classes Right For You? This brief, twelve question self test is designed to help students identify if they have the hardware, software, Internet connection, and basic computer experience necessary to take an online c lass. The self test is for personal use; instructors do not have access to the results of the test, nor do the results of the self test prohibit students from registering for online classes. Research Design Descriptive studies play a significant role in th e field of education. Although descriptive research does not measure cause and effect, the information provided by descriptive research can help isolate variables that can be used to measure cause and effect (Knupfer & McLellan, 1996). The results of the s tudy are expected to determine if there is a correlation between students perception of corrective feedback and student retention in online classes, as well as to provide other researchers with several areas to address in future studies. A study was cond ucted with approximately 13 5 students enrolled in the following online classes at a community college in the southeastern United States: Principles of Micro Economics and Principles of Macro Economics taught by a full time Associate Professor; World Civili zations 1 and World Civilizations 2, taught by a full time Associate Professor; and Web Programming 1 and Advanced Computer Applications, taught by a full time Associate Professor. An exit survey was used to measure the following (a) students perception o f corrective feedback and retention, (b) attending course orientation and retention, ( c ) attending technical workshop s and retention, ( d ) prior online experience and retention, and ( e ) students perception of computer

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26 experience and retention The survey w as administered one week prior to the last day to withdrawal from the class without a W grade. The instructors of the classes in this study conducted an on campus course orientation meeting. At this meeting the professors reviewed the course syllabi. St udents were encouraged to attend technical training workshops conducted by the distance learning, help desk technician. Training workshops were conducted during the first three weeks of class; however, the distance learning, help desk technician was availa ble during the semester for one on one instruction when students requested assistance. Instrumentation An exit survey was used to gather quantitative data (See Appendix A). The survey consisted of dichotomous, discrete and Likert scale questions. Question s 1 through 9 on the exit survey measured the independent variables; question 10 was used as the preliminary measure of the dependent variable. Variables Independent Variables Questions 1 through 9 on the exit survey were used to measure the independent v ariables. Questions 1 and 2 were dichotomous questions which values ranged from 1 through 0, (Yes = 1) and (No = 0). Question 3 was a discrete valued question that ranged from 0 through 9. Question 4 was a Likert scale question that ranged from 4 through 0 Specifically, from Excellent (4 points), Good (3 points), Average (2 points), Fair (1 point), and Poor ( 0 points). Questions 5 through 9 were Likert scale questions which values ranged from 4 through 0. Specifically, from Strongly Agree ( 4 points), Agree (3 points), Neutral (2 points), Disagree (1 point), and Strongly Disagree ( 0 points).

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27 SQ1: Did you attend the orientation meeting for this class? Course o rientation meetings are held prior to the drop/add period; therefore, students enrolling during the d rop/add period will not attend the orientation meeting for the class. Orientation is not mandatory. Although all the course information that is covered at the orientation meeting is available on the course Web site for each class, students who do not atten d the orientation may not be as prepared for taking the class online. Both the instructor for each of the classes and the distance learning, help desk technician are available after the drop/add period to assist students in getting caught up in the class. SQ2: Did you attend a Distance Learning technical workshop this semester? Students enrolling in online classes have a broad range of technical skills. As a result, some students lack the computer skills required to be successful in an online class. Techni cal workshops are offered every semester to provide students with additional technical skills. Not only do the workshops cover the features in WebCT that are normally a part of an online class, such as discussions, email, uploading files, testing, etc., bu t the workshop also covers downloading data files from a textbook company Website, zipping files, and hardware and software requirements for online classes. These workshops are voluntary and are scheduled during the day, nights and weekends to accommodate online students. SQ3: How many online classes have you taken in the past? With an extensive amount of training and classes online, the level of experience may vary from student to student. The institution in this study has offered online classes since fall 1997; therefore, instructors expect students to have a wide range of experience with online classes. SQ4: How would you rate your computer skills? The participants perception of their computer skills may not be an accurate measure of their actual compute r skills. As a

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28 result, it is expected that there will be a gap between the perceived skill level and actual skill level. Survey questions 5 through 9 on the exit survey were used to measure the independent variable, students perception of corrective feedb ack. The exit survey questions used to measure the independent variable included the following: (a) SQ5: The instructor provided corrective feedback on assignments, (b) SQ6: The instructor provided corrective feedback on exams/quizzes, (c) SQ7: The correct ive feedback I received in this class had an affect on me completing the class, (d) SQ8: I was satisfied with the corrective feedback I received in this class, and (e) SQ9: I was satisfied with the quality of the corrective feedback received in this class. These five exit survey questions were analyzed collectively. The vice president for instruction, the chair of the distance learning committee, and the researcher devised a scale to categorize the independent variable. The categories included (a) high corr ective feedback, which ranged from 16 through 20 points, (b) medium corrective feedback, which ranged from 11 through 15 points, and (c) low corrective feedback, which ranges from 0 through 10 points. Dependent Variable Question 10 on the exit survey Do yo u anticipate completing this course? was used as a preliminary measure of the dependent variable, retention The researcher used the final grade report to verify the completion rate for each class. The vice president and chair of the distance learning comm ittee reviewed the survey for content validation; revisions continued until valid questions were constructed.

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29 Sampling Strategy Students who registered for Principles of Micro Economics, Principles of Macro Economics, World Civilizations 1, World Civiliza tions 2, Web Programming 1 and Advanced Computer Applications were included in this study. One student registered in more than one class in the study; however, the student was only a research participant in one class. The researcher randomly selected to wh ich class the student was assigned. Procedures for Data Collection One week prior to the last da y to drop the course without a W grade s tudents received a letter by postal mail containing information about the study (see Appendix B), the exit survey and a n informed consent form. The letter identified the purpose and the importance of the study, as well as reassured students that their responses would be confidential. Students were instructed to complete the informed consent form and the exit survey within five weeks and return it to the researcher by stamped, self addressed envelope. Students who choose not to participate were not included in the study. The researcher avoided sending the survey too early in the semester as to give the students an opportun ity to receive feedback from their instructor. Additionally, the researcher chose not to send the survey at the end of the semester as to avoid missing the students who dropped the course before the official drop date. Participants choosing to drop a cours e must obtain the instructors signature prior to submitting a drop slip to the Admissions and Records Office. Participants who dropped the class were not dropped from the study unless they chose to withdraw from the study. Participants were instructed in writing, to contact the researcher if they choose to withdraw from the study.

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30 Research Questions and Hypotheses To determine if the students perception of corrective feedback and retention are related, the following research questions were constructed: RQ1. H ow are the students perception of corrective feedback and student retention related? RQ2. Are students who attend course orientation meetings more likely to complete the course? RQ3. Are students who attend distance learning technical workshops more likely to comp lete the course? RQ4. Are students who have taken other online classes more likely to complete the course? RQ5. How are the students perceived computer skills and student retention related? Based on the research questions, the following null hypotheses, variables, and analytical methods were developed. This information is presented in the following tables corresponding to the different research questions.

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31 Research Question 1: Perception of Corrective Feedback Table 1 Research Question 1 RQ 1 How are the student s perception of corrective feedback and student retention related? Survey Question s SQ5. The instructor provided corrective feedback on assignments. SQ6. The instructor provided corrective feedback on exams/quizzes. SQ7. The correc tive feedback I received in this class had an affect on me completing the class? SQ8. I was satisfied with the corrective feedback I received in this class. SQ9. I was satisfied with the quality of the corrective feedback received in this class. Null Hypo thesis H 0 1 : Corrective feedback does not have an affect on student retention in online classes. Independent Variable Student perception of corrective feedback (PCFTotal) Dependent Variable Retention (RET) Method of Analysis Spearmans Rank Order Correla tion (Spearmans rho)

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32 Research Question 2: Attend Course Orientation Table 2 Research Question 2 RQ 2 Are students who attend course orientation meetings more likely to complete the course? Survey Question SQ 1 Did you attend the orientation meeting for this class? Null Hypothesis H 02 : Attending the course orientation does not have an affect on student retention in online classes. Independent Variable Attending course orientation (ACO) Dependent Variable Retention (RET) Method of Analysis Pearsons Phi Coefficient Research Question 3: Attend Technical Workshop Table 3 Research Question 3 RQ 3 Are students who attend distance learning technical workshops more likely to complete the course? Survey Quest ion SQ 2 Did you attend a Distance Learning technical workshop this semester? Null Hypothesis H 03 : Attending technical workshops do not have an affect on student retention in online classes. Independent Variable Attending technical workshop (ATW) Depend ent Variable Retention (RET) Method of Analysis Pearsons Phi Coefficient

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33 Research Question 4: Previous Online Classes Table 4 Research Question 4 RQ 4 Are students who have taken other online classes more likely to complete the course? Survey Question SQ 3 How many online classes have you taken in the past? Null Hypothesis H 0 4 : Prior online experience does not have an affect on student retention. Independent Variable Prior online classes (POC) Dependent Variable Retention (R ET) Method of Analysis Spearmans Rank Order Correlation (Spearmans rho) Research Question 5: Perceived Computer Skills Table 5 Research Question 5 RQ 5 How are the students perceived computer skills and student retention relat ed? Survey Question SQ 4 How would you rate your computer skills? Null Hypothesis H 0 5 : Students perception of computer skills does not have an affect on student retention in online classes. Independent Variable Perception of computer skills (POC) Depe ndent Variable Retention (RET) Method of Analysis Spearmans Rank Order Correlation (Spearmans rho)

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34 Procedure for Data Analysis This descriptive study attempted to find if there is a correlation between the following: (a) students perception of correc tive feedback and retention, (b) attending course orientation and retention, ( c ) attending technical workshop s and retention, (d ) prior online experience and retention, and ( e ) students perception of computer experience and retention Once the surveys wer e completed the data was recorded in a spreadsheet program and then imported into the Statistical Analysis System (SAS) for data analysis. Pearsons Phi Coefficient was used to calculate the relationship between (a) attending course orientation and retenti on and (b) attending technical workshop s and retention. Spearmans Rank Order Correlation (Spearmans rho) was used to calculate the relationship between (a) participants perception of corrective feedback and retention, (b) prior online experience and ret ention; and ( c ) students perception of computer skills and retention The researcher controlled for Type I error by establishing a risk level of .05, which means that significant results at the .05 level could occur by chance no more than five times out o f 100 (Glass & Hopkins, 1996).

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35 Summary of Chapter 3 The purpose of the study was to determine if there is a correlation between students perception of corrective feedback and student retention in online classes. The study included 13 4 students enrolled i n six courses at a community college located in the southeastern United States. An exit survey was used to gather quantitative data that was imported into the Statistical Analysis System (SAS) for data analysis. The null hypotheses were tested using Pearso ns Phi Coefficient and Spearmans Rank Order Correlation.

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36 Chapter 4 Results Introduction The purpose of the study was to determine if there is a correlation between students perception of corrective feedback and student retention in online classes. A total of 13 4 surveys were mailed to the students enrolled in six different classes. The courses used in the study were Principles of Micro Economics, Principles of Macro Economics, World Civilizations 1, World Civilizations 2, Web Programming 1 and Advance d Computer Applications. The research questions addressed were as follows: RQ1. How are the students perception of corrective feedback and student retention related? RQ2. Are students who attend course orientation meetings more likely to complete the course? RQ3. Are s tudents who attend distance learning technical workshops more likely to complete the course? RQ4. Are students who have taken other online classes more likely to complete the course? RQ5. How are the students perceived computer skills and student retention related? A total of 59 participants (4 4 .0 3 %) responded to the survey. Of the 59 surveys received seven ( 11.8 6 %) did not contain a signed informed consent form and two ( 3.39 %) were missing data; therefore, the data from these surveys were not included in the study

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37 The distribution of retention rate for six online courses was examined collectively. The following tables indicate the relationship between (a) students perception of corrective feedback and retention, (b) attending course orientation and retention, ( c ) attending technical workshop s and retention, ( d ) prior online experience and retention, and ( e ) students perception of computer experience and retention It is important to note that despite every attempt to solicit students who dropped the course, the s tudents who dropped tended not to return the survey. Therefore, the sample did not accurately represent the population. As a result of the sampling error, there is little variability in the dependent measure; thus, the results have the potential of being b iased.

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38 Research Question 1: Students P erception of C orrective F eedback Table 6 Research Question 1 Results RQ 1 How are the student s perception of corrective feedback and student retention related? Null Hypothesis H 0 1 : Corrective feedback does not have an affect on student retention in online classes. Independent Variable Student perception of corrective feedback (PCFTotal) IV Scale Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree IV Distribution: SQ5 20 23 4 1 2 IV Dis tribution: SQ6 23 10 9 5 3 IV Distribution: SQ7 21 18 4 5 2 IV Distribution: SQ8 17 21 7 3 2 IV Distribution: SQ9 15 8 22 3 2 Dependent Variable DV Distribution Retention (RET) Yes = 47 No = 3 Method of Analysis Spearmans Rank Order Correlation ( Spearmans rho) Result S ignificant relationship between PCFTotal and RET. IV Descriptive Statistics N = 50 Mean = 14.64, Std Dev = 4.98 Variance = 24.80 Skewness = 1.10 Kurtosis = 1.27 Outliers = 2 IV Inferential Statistics r r = .34 p = .02 < a = 05 r 2 = .12

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39 A new composite variable was created from exit survey questions 5 through 9. Each of these values could be answered in a range from 0 through 4. Therefore, the variable PCFTotal could range from 0 through 20. RQ1: How are the student s per ception of corrective feedback and student retention related? The hypothesis that corresponded to this research question is: H 0 1 : Corrective feedback does not have an effect on student retention in online classes The independent variable measured is stude nt perception of corrective feedback ; the dependent variable is retention The independent variable is a composite variable consisting of the responses of exit survey questions 5 through 9. The questions were as follows: (a) SQ5: The instructors provided c orrective feedback on assignments, (b) SQ6: The instructor provided corrective feedback on exams/quizzes, (c) SQ7: The corrective feedback I received in this class had an affect on me completing the class, (d) SQ8: I was satisfied with the corrective feedb ack I received in this class, and (e) SQ9: I was satisfied with the quality of the corrective feedback received in this class. The PCFTotal values form a negatively skewed ( 1.10), bi modal distribution with a major modal of 20 and a minor modal of 14. The mean is 14.64 and the standard deviation is 4.98. The kurtosis valu e of 1.27 indicates a moderate leptokurtic distribution. A Spearmans Rank Order Correlation (Spearmans rho) revealed a positive correlation (.34) between the independent and dependent v ariables. A correlation of .34 between perception of corrective feedback and retention indicates that perception of corrective feedback has a positive impact upon retention. The data indicates that this is significant because p = .02 < .05.

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40 Table 7 PCFTotal Analysis IV Mean Standard Deviation Skewness Variance Kurtosis Correlation p r 2 PCF5/SQ5 3.16 .96 1.65 .91 3.40 .37 .01 .15 PCF6/SQ6 2.88 1.26 0.86 1.57 0.3 .35 .01 .12 PCF7/SQ7 3.02 1.13 1.18 1.28 .62 .36 .01 .13 PCF8/S Q8 2.96 1.05 1.13 1.10 1.07 .36 .01 .13 PCF9/SQ9 2.62 1.10 0.22 1.22 0.52 .36 .01 .13 Table 7 represents the individual breakdown of the composite variable PCFTotal. Looking at each question individually, rather than as a collective group, reveals a slightly stronger relationship (.37) between survey question 5: The instructor provided corrective feedback on assignments and RET Survey question 6: The instructor provided corrective feedback on exams/quizzes . has the lowest correlation (.35). Surve y question 7: The corrective feedback I received in this class had an affect on me completing the class . survey question 8: I was satisfied with the corrective feedback I received in this class . and survey question 9: I was satisfied with the quality of the corrective feedback received in this class . indicate a positive correlation (.36) between the independent and dependent variables.

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41 Research Question 2: Attend C ourse O rientation Table 8 Research Question 2 Results RQ 2 Ar e students who attend course orientation meetings more likely to complete the course? Null Hypothesis H 0 2 : Attending course orientation does not have an affect on student retention in online classes. Independent Variable IV Distribution Attending course orientation (ACO) Yes = 42 No = 8 Dependent Variable DV Distribution Retention (RET) Yes = 47 No = 3 Method of Analysis Pearsons Phi Coefficient Result No significant relationship was found between ACO and RET IV Descriptive Statistics N = 50 Mean =.84, Std Dev = .37, Variance = .14 Skewness = 1.91, Kurtosis = 1.7 3 O utliers = 0 IV Inferential Statistics r f = .09 p = .54 > a = .05 r 2 = .01 RQ 2 : Are students who attend course orientation meetings more likely to complete the course? The hy pothesis that corresponded to this research question is: H 0 2 : Attending course orientation does not have an affect on student retention in online classes. The independent variable measured is attending course orientation ; the dependent variable is retentio n The independent variable is addressed by the responses of exit survey question one Did you attend the orientation meeting for this semester?

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42 The ACO values form a dichotomous distribution, which is a special case of a bi modal distribution because the answer was either yes or no. The results contain a major mode, students attending the course orientation, and a minor mode, students not attending the course orientation. The mean is .84 and standard deviation is .37. A kurtosis value of 1.73 indicates a moderate leptokurtic distribution. A Pearsons Phi Correlation revealed a negative correlation ( .09) between the independent and dependent variables. A correlation of .09 between attending course orientation and retention indicates that attending the cou rse orientation has a negative impact upon retention However, this is not statistically significant because p = .54 > a = .05. This is supported by the r 2 value (.01) which indicates that .01% of the variation in retention can be explained by the variatio n in ACO.

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43 Research Question 3: Attend T echnical W orkshop Table 9 Research Question 3 Results RQ 3: Are students who attend distance learning technical workshops more likely to complete the course ? Null Hypothesis H 0 3 : Attending on line technical workshop s does not have an affect on student retention in online classes. Independent Variable IV Distribution Attending technical workshop (ATW) Yes = 47 No = 3 Dependent Variable DV Distribution Retention (RET) Yes = 47 No = 3 Me thod of Analysis Pearsons Phi Coefficient Result No significant relationship was found between ATW and RET IV Descriptive Statistics N = 50 Mean = .06, Std Dev = .24, Variance = .06 Skewness = 3.82, Kurtosis = 13.12, O utliers = 0 IV Inferential Stati stics r f = .05 p = .72 > a > = .05 r 2 = .003 RQ3: Are students who attend distance learning technical workshops more likely to complete the course? The hypothesis that corresponded to this research question is: H 03 : Attending online technical workshop s does not have an affect on student retention in online classes. The independent variable measured is attending course orientation ; the dependent variable is retention The independent variable is addressed by the responses of exit survey question two Did you att end a Distance Learning technical workshop this semester?

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44 The ATW values form a dichotomous, bi modal distribution with a major mode of 47, indicating that 47 out of 50 participants did not attend the technical workshop. The minor mode consisted of three students indicating that they attended the technical workshop. The mean is .06 and standard deviation is .24. A kurtosis value of 13.12 indicates an extreme leptokurtic distribution. A Pearsons Phi Correlation revealed a positive correlation (.05) betwee n the independent and dependent variables. A correlation of .0 5 between the attending technical workshop s and retention indicates that attending technical workshops has a positive impact upon retention However, this is not statistically significant becau se p = .72 > a = .05. This is supported by the r 2 value (.003) which indicates that .003% of the variation in retention can be explained by the variation in ATW.

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45 Research Question 4: Perceived C omputer S kills Table 10 Research Ques tion 4 Results RQ 4 Are students who have taken other online classes more likely to complete the course? Null Hypothesis H 0 4 : Prior online experience does not have an affect on student retention. Independent Variable Prior online classes (POC) IV Scale / Number of Classes 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 IV Distribution 15 7 5 8 5 2 2 1 1 4 Dependent Variable DV Distribution Retention (RET) Yes = 47 No = 3 Method of Analysis Spearmans Rank Order Correlation (Spearmans rho) Result No significant relationship was found between POC and RET. IV Descriptive Statistics N = 50 Mean = 2.68 Std Dev = 2.78, Variance = 7.73 Skewness = 1.02, Kurtosis = 0.16, O utliers = 0 IV Inferential Statistics r r = .09 p = .55 > a = .05 r 2 = .01 RQ4: Are students who have ta ken other online classes more likely to complete the course? The hypothesis that corresponded to this research question is: H 04 : Prior online experience does not have an affect on student retention. The independent variable measured is previous online clas ses ; the dependent variable is retention The independent variable is addressed by the responses of exit survey question three How many online classes have you taken in the past?

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46 The POC values form a positively skewed distribution (1.02) with a mean of 2.68 and a standard deviation of 2.78. A kurtosis value of .16 indicates a slightly leptokurtic distribution. The data indicates that 15 students have never taken an online class; seven students have taken one; five students have taken two, eight students have taken three; five students have taken four; two students have taken five; two students have taken six; one student has taken seven; one student has taken eight; and four students have taken nine online classes. A Spearmans Rank Order Correlation (S pearmans rho) revealed a negative correlation ( .09) between the independent and dependent variables. A correlation of .09 between previous online classes and retention indicates that previous online classes has a negative impact upon retention. A negati ve correlation between POC and RET is not statistically significant because p = .55 > a = .05. This is supported by the r 2 (.01) indicating that there is little variation.

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47 Research Question 5: Perceived C omputer S kills Table 11 Re search Question 5 Results RQ 5 How are the students perceived computer skills and online class retention related? Null Hypothesis H 0 5 : Students perception of computer skills does not have an affect on student retention in online classes. Independent Va riable Perception of computer skills (PCS) IV Scale Excellent Good Average Fair Poor IV Distribution 23 20 5 2 0 Dependent Variable DV Distribution Retention (RET) Yes = 47 No = 3 Method of Analysis Spearmans Rank Order Correlation (Spearmans rho ) Result No significant relationship was found between PCS and RET. IV Descriptive Statistics N = 50 Mean = 3.28 Std Dev =.81 Variance = .65 Skewness = 1.05, Kurtosis = .78 Outliers = 2 IV Inferential Statistics r r = .21 p = .15 > a = .05 r 2 = 04 RQ5: How are the students perceived computer skills and online class retention related? The hypothesis that corresponded to this research question is: H 0 5 : Students perception of computer skills does not have an affect on student retention. The inde pendent variable measured is students perceived computer skills ; the dependent variable is retention The independent variable is addressed by the responses of exit survey question four How would you rate your computer skills?

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48 The PCS values form a nega tively skewed distribution ( 1.05) with a mean of 3.28 and a standard deviation of .81. A kurtosis value of .78 indicates a slightly leptokurtic distribution. The data indicates the following distribution for survey question 4: Excellent = 23, Good = 20, A verage = 5, Fair = 2 and Poor = 0. A Spearmans Rank Order Correlation (Spearmans rho) revealed a negative correlation ( .21) between the independent and dependent variables. A correlation of .21 between perception of computer skills and retention indic ates that perception of computer skills has a negative impact upon retention A negative correlation between PCS and RET is not statistically significant because p = .15 > a = .05. This is supported by r 2 (.04) which indicates that .04% of the variation in PCS can be explained by the variation in PCS.

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49 Survey Question 10 Table 12 Survey Question 10 Results SQ10. Do you anticipate completing this class? Dependent Variable (DV) DV Distribution Retention (RET) Yes = 47 No = 3 Desc riptive Statistics N = 50 Mean = .94, Std Dev = .24, Variance = .06 Skewness = 3.82, Kurtosis = 13.12 Survey question 10 : Do you anticipate completing this course ? was used as the preliminary measure of the dependent variable, retention. Final grade rep orts were used to verify completion rates. Forty seven out of 50 participants (9 4 %) indicated that they anticipated completing the class. The RET values form a negatively skewed distribution ( 3.82) with a standard deviation of .24. A kurtosis value of 13. 12 indicates a n extreme leptokurtic distribution.

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50 Summary of Data Analysis Table 13 Data Analysis Research Question Survey Question Variable Correlational Method 1 Result Interpretation RQ 1 SQ5 9 PCF5 9 (PCFTotal ) Spearmans R ank Order r r = .34 Positive correlation between PCFTotal & RET Negatively skewed distribution Significant relationship between PCFTotal & RET RQ 2 SQ1 ACO Pearson Phi Coefficient r f = .09 Negative correlation between ACO & RET Dichotomous distribution No significant relationship between ACO & RET RQ 3 SQ2 ATW Pearson Phi Coefficient r f = .05 Positive correlation between ATW & RET Dichotomous distribution No significant relationship between ATW & RET RQ 4 SQ3 POC Spearmans Rank Order r r = .09 Negativ e correlation between POC & RET Positively skewed distribution No significant relationship between POC & RET RQ 5 SQ4 PCS Spearmans Rank Order r r = .21 Negative correlation between PCS & RET Negatively skewed distribution No significant relationship bet ween PCS & RET Table 13 represents a summary of the results for each research question. E ach research question has a c orresponding survey question, variable name correlational method, and summary of the interpretation of the results.

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51 Summary of Chapte r 4 A total of 134 community college students registered in Principles of Micro Economics, Principles of Macro Economics, World Civilization 1, World Civilization 2, Web Programming 1 and Advanced Computer Applications were survey. Of the 13 4 surveyed, 59 (4 4 .03%) students responded. Of the 59 surveys received, 50 surveys were used in the study; seven surveys were excluded because there was no signed informed consent and two were excluded for missing data. No significant relationship was found between (a) a ttending course orientation and retention, (b) attending technical workshop s and retention, (c) prior online experience and retention, and (d) students pe rception of computer experience and retention. However the data indicate a significant relationship between the students perception of corrective feedback and retention.

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52 Chapter 5 Summary, Conclusions, And Recommendations Summary According to distancestudies.com, one of the biggest challenges in distance education is student retention. With the est imated 2.2 million distance learners in the U.S. by the end of 2002, identifying the reason(s) students are not completing distance learning courses is important to the instructional technology field (Resekba, 2001). The purpose of this study was to dete rmine if there is a correlation between students perception of corrective feedback and student retention in online classes. Other potentially influencing factors were also observed. The research questions addressed were as follows: RQ1. How are the students p erception of corrective feedback and student retention related ? RQ2. Are students who attend course orientation meetings more likely to complete the course? RQ3. Are students who attend distance learning technical workshops more likely to complete the course? RQ4. Are s tudents who have taken other online classes more likely to complete the course? RQ5. How are the students perceived computer skills and student retention related?

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53 The research study began with a concern that students dropped out of distance learning classes be cause of the lack of corrective feedback. A study was conducted with 13 4 students enrolled in the following online classes at a community college in the southeastern United States: Principles of Micro Economics, Principles of Macro Economics, World Civiliz ations 1, World Civilizations 2, Web Programming 1, and Advanced Computer Applications. An exit survey was used to measure the following (a) students perception of corrective feedback and retention, (b) attending course orientation and retention, ( c ) atte nding technical workshop s and retention, ( d ) prior online experience and retention, and ( e ) students pe rception of computer experience and retention Conclusion This study failed to indicate any significant relationships between (a) attending course orien tation and retention, (b) attending technical workshop s and retention, (c) prior online experience and retention, and (d) students perception of computer experience and retention. However, the data indicate a significant relationship between the students perception of corrective feedback and retention. It is also interesting to note that just getting feedback was as important as the quality of the feedback. A problem with the procedure indicates that the results are not representative of the sample popul ation Students who dropped tended not to return the survey. As a result of the sampling error, there is little variability in the dependent measure; thus, the results have the potential of being biased. Al though the findings are not statistically signific ant for exit survey questions 1 through 4 it is important to remember that t he majority of the students who responded to the exit survey were the students who anticipated completing the class. Only three of the

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54 18 students who dropped their class complete d the exit survey. Consequently, the results are not representative of the sample population Further research is needed to identify why the students who were not successful in the class also chose not to complete the exit survey. The majority of s tudents who dropped did not complete the exit survey. A total of 18 students dropped; however, only three of those students responded to the survey. With only three students completing the survey there is not enough data to confidently state that there is a relat ionship between the independent variables and the dependant variable. The fact that 5 0 out of 134 students responded indicates th e sample size was not a problem. T he problem was that the sample that responded was no t representative of the sample that was t argeted. The sample that responded was the students who completed the course, not the students who dropped the course. A composite variable was created with questions 5 through 9 on the exit survey. The results of these questions were used to identify the students perception of feedback. The vice president for instruction, the chair of the distance learning committee, and the researcher devised a scale to categorize the independent variable. The categories included (a) high corrective feedback, which range d from 16 through 20 points, (b) medium corrective feedback, which ranged from 11 through 15 points, and (c) low corrective feedback, which ranges from 0 through 10 points. The mean for the composite variable is 14.64, which indicates that the students pe rceived they received medium corrective feedback.

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55 Recommendations With the estimated 2.2 million distance learners in the U.S. by the end of 2002, identifying the reason(s) students are not completing distance learning courses is important to the instruct ional technology field (Resekba, 2001). The results of this study, while informative, show a need for additional research in distance learning. Not only is it important for this study to be replicated to see if the findings hold up, but e ducators would ben efit from additional research studies that focus on the following: (a) exploring procedural changes (b) exploring student perception of quality, timeliness and consistency of corrective feedback, and (c) conducting individual cas e studies with online stud ents. Procedural Changes Despite every attempt to solicit students who dropped the course, the students who dropped the course tended to not return the survey. As a result, changes to the procedure of this study are necessary to (a) increase the number of useable surveys, (b) increase the number of respondents, (c) increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the data validation process and (d) increase the generalizability of the study. Of the 59 surveys collected, nine surveys ( 15.25 %) were not used beca use of missing data or improperly signed informed consent forms. The number of usable surveys could be increased if the researcher m et students at the course orientation meeting to explain the purpose and importance of the study and to obtain properly sign ed informed consent forms. Additionally, t he researcher could verify that the informed consents are c ompleted correctly before the end of the meeting

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56 Creating an online survey has the potential of increasing the number of respondents. If students could ac cess the survey by clicking on a link from their online course website, more students may be inclined to complete the survey. Furthermore, the survey could be designed to notify the student if a question was left blank, which would eliminate the submission of incomplete surveys. The data validation process would be enhanced by including a place on the exit survey for the students name and the name of the course. T he students name and the course name entered at the top of the survey would enhance the data validation process by allowing the researcher to verify the data more efficiently and effectively. This study included participants from six online classes at one community college. Conducting a random sample from all the online classes at the college, or a random sample from several community colleges with similar demographics would increase the generalizability of the results. P erception of quality, timeliness and consistency of corrective feedback A composite variable was created with questions 5 throug h 9 on the exit survey. The results of these questions were used to identify the students perception of feedback. Although survey question 5: Did the instructor provide corrective feedback on assignments ? indicated a slightly stronger relationship (.37) than survey questions 6 through 9 which indicated correlations of .35, .36, .36, .36, respectively However, t here was no significant variance in the correlations of the five questions. The respondents perceived just getting feedback was as important as the quality of the feedback. Perhaps modifying the existing questions or expanding the questions used to measure the students perception of corrective feedback may help online course d evelopers or online

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57 instructors to identify specific areas that need im provement Creating survey questions to identify the students perception of the quality, timeliness and consistency of the corrective feedback received in online classes has the potential of providing researchers with valuable data. Conduct individual cas e studies T he results of this study indicate that the dichotomous questions on the exit survey did not reveal valuable data. Survey question 1: Did you attend the c ourse orientation ? for the class and survey question 2: Did you attend a distance learnin g technical workshop ? does not provide meaningful data. Students may have attended either the course orientation meeting or the work shop and found them to be helpful; however they may have found them to be a waste of time. Identifying the strengths and we aknesses of each would provide instructors with the information required to revise the meetings to be more effective. Developing a survey with open ended questions has the potential to produce more meaningful data. Conducting individual case studies with s tudents who drop online classes would provide researchers with rich qualitative data. The qualitative data might provide more specific reasons on the students perception of (a) the role of the instructor in online classes, (b) the role of the student in o nline classes, (c) the level of computer skills required to be successful in online classes, and (d) the type of feedback that is beneficial to online students. The rich qualitative data collected from individual case studies would provide educators with t he data required to create significant changes that has the potential to enhance the field of distance learning.

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58 Future research in distance learning should focus on exploring procedural changes, exploring student perception of quality, timeliness and con sistency of corrective feedback, and conducting individual case studies with online students. R esearch in these areas has the potential of leading to methodologies to enhance the online environment for both the student and the instructors. Furthermore, the popularity of distance learning for secondary students continues to grow. Having this type of data may improve teaching strategies for all levels of instruction.

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59 References Achtemeier, S., Morris, L. and Finnegan, C. (2003). C onsiderations for developi ng evaluations of online courses. Journal of A synchronous Learning Networks 7 (1) Retrieved March 12, 2004, from, http://www.sloan c.org/publications/jaln/v7n1/index.asp Bangert Drowns, R. L., Kulik, C. C., Kulik, J. A. and Morgan, M. (1991). The instru ctional effect of feedback in test like events. Review of Educational Research 61, 213 238. Bennett, C. CFCC distance learning. CFCC Distance Learning Mission, Definition, and Goals Web Page. Central Florida Community College Retrieved August 1, 2003, f rom http://gocfcc.com/ distance /mission.htm Berge, Z. New roles for learners and teachers in online higher education. University of Maryland Retrieved August 8, 2003, from http://www.globaled.com/articles/BergeZane2000.pdf Bogen, P., Dyer, P., and Schuller, P. (2001). Feedback Retrieved March 21, 2003, from http://edtech.utb.edu/_ Projects / 6320/group/three/index.html Buckley, E. Ellis, B., MacAnlis, R. and Tim, C. Distance learning. Retrieved March 12, 2004, from http://mason.gmu.edu/~bellis1/asse ssing.htm CLIO Centre for Assessment Studies. (2000). Not very good work doesnt help me know how to do it better The LEARN project guidance for schools on assessment for learning. University of Bristol Retrieved July 26, 2003, from http://www.qca.org.uk/pdf.asp?/ca/5 14/afl/notvery.pdf Cobb, K. (2003). Creating e learning communities. Working Connections IT Faculty Development Institute [Presentation] July 28, 2003. Danesh A., Mandviwalla, M., & Liu, C. A study in use of technology in distance education and on line learning. Nova Southeastern University 1 2. Retrieved August 2, 2003, from http://fcae.nova.edu /pet/simonson/monograph.PDF Davis, B. (2003). Motivating students. University of California 1 & 4. Retrieved February 23, 2003, from http://www.hcc.hawai i.edu/intranet/committees/FacDevCom/guidebk/teachtip/motiv.htm Deans, C. (1998). The distance education student Retrieved October 15, 2002, from http://seamonkey.ed.asu. edu / ~mcisaac/disted/week2/8focuscd.html Diaz, D. (May/June 2002 ). Online drop out rates revisited. The Technology Source Retrieved October 15, 2002, from http://www.e learning centre.co.uk/eclipse/Resources/keeping.htm

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60 Draper, S. (1999) Feedback. [A technical memo] Retrieved March 19, 2003, from http://staff.psy.gla.ac.uk/~steve/feedback.html Dubois, J. Major i ssues in distance learning. Working Connections. IT Faculty Development Institute [Presentation] July 28, 2003. Eskey, M. T. (2003). Recruiting distance learning. THE Journal Retrieved July 31, 2003, from http://www.thejournal.com/magazine/vault/A4257B.cfm Galbraith, K. Stimulus response theories of learning (2003). Retrieved August 10, 2003, from the http://unite. ukans .edu/explorer/explorer db/rsrc/783751653 447DED81.2.PDF Gibson, C. (1998). Distance learners in higher education Madison Wisconsin: Atwood Publishing Glass, G. V., and Hopkins, K. D. (1996). Statistical methods in education and psychology [Chapter 11] Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Graham, C., Cagiltay, K., Craner, J., Lim, B. and Duffy, T. (2002). Teaching in a web based distance learning environment: An evaluation summary based on four courses Retrieved October 18, 2002, from http://crlt.indiana.edu/publications/crlt00 13.pdf Green, K. (n. d). Money, technology, and distance education. Retrieved February 15, 2004, from http://www.adec.edu/clemson/papers/green_money.html Hanson, Maushak, Scholosser, Andserson, Sorenson, & Simonson. Distance education: Review of the literature. Association for Educational Communications and Technology. 2 nd Edit ion Retrieved August 2, 2003, from http://www.educ.ttu.edu/online/maushak/EDIT5370/Notes/what.htm Hara, N. & Kling, R. (December 1999). Frustrations with a web based distan ce education course. [Electronic Version] First Monday 4 (12) Retrieved March 4, 2003, from http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue4_12/hara/index.html Hazari, S. (1998). Evaluation an d selection of web course management tools. Retrieved October 15, 2002, from http://www.sunilhazari.com/education/webct/ Ikpa, V. (2000). Strategies for developing and managing an online cour se. ITC Featured Essay Retrieved November 9, 2002, from http://www.itcnetwork.org/ITCmembersOnly/Essay12200.pdf Illinois Online Network. (2003). What makes a successful online faci litator? Retrieved March 4, 2003, from http://www.ion.illinois.edu/IONresources/onlineLearning/instructorProfile.asp

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61 Johnson, S. D., Aragon, S. R. Shaik, N., & Palma Rivas, N. (2000). Comparative analysis of learner satisfaction and learning outcomes in online and face to face learning environments. Journal of interactive learning research 11(1), 29 49. Knupfer, N. & McLellan, H. (1996). Descriptive research m ethodologies. In D. Jonassen. (Ed.) Handbook of research for educational communications and technology 1196 1201. New York: Macmillian. Looms, T. (1997). Issues concerning web based assessment and testing. George Washington University Retrieved Novem ber 9, 2002, from http://www.student.seas.gwu.edu/~tlooms/research.html Major, H. & Levenburg, N. (1999). Learner success in distance education environments: A Shared Responsibility. Commentary. Retrieved November 2, 2002, from http://ts.mivu.org/default.asp?show=article&id=71 McIs a c c M. S. & Gunawardena, C. N. Descriptive research methodologies. In D. Jonassen. (Ed. ) Handbook of research for educational communications and technology Retrieved January 1, 2003, from https://www.aect.org/Intranet/Publications/edtech/index.asp Mory, E. (1996). Cognitive teaching models, Handbook of research for educational communications and technology (Ch. 32). New York: MacMillian. Mory, E. (1996). Feedback Research. In D. Jonassen. (Ed.) Handbook of Research for Educational Communications and Technology 1196 1201. New York: Macmillian. Retrieved January 1, 2003, from https://www.aect.org/Intranet/Publications/edtech/index.asp Ogilvie, C. ( 2001 ). Feedbacks influence on studen t learning in on line assignments Retrieved August 2, 2003, from https://webct.ait.iastate.edu/ISUtools/webhtml/designer/community/ogilvie.pdf Phipps, R. & Mer isotis, J. (1999). Whats the difference? A review of contemporary research on the effectiveness of distance learning in higher education. National Education Association Retrieved July 27, 2003, from http://www.ihep.com/Pubs/PDF/Difference.pdf Price, R. V. Designing a college web based course using a modified personalized system of i nstruction (PSI) model. [Collection of essays] Retrieved August 2, 2003, from http://fcae.nova.edu/pet/simonson/monograph.PDF Reeves, T. (2000). Enhancing the worth of instructional technology research through 'design e xperiments' and other development research strategies. Retrieved April 27, 2003, fro m http://it.coe.uga.edu/~treeves/AERA2000Reeves.pdf Rezabek, R. (2001). Telelearning 2001. Iowa Distance Learning Association Retrieved October 15, 2002, from http://www.idla.org/telelearning_2001.htm

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62 Sharpio, T. Desier2Learn. Distance Learning Conference [Demonstration] August 2003. Sherry, L. (1996). Issues in distance learning. International Journal of Educational Telecommuni cations [Electronic Version] 1 (4), 337 365. Retrieved March 21, 2003, from http://carbon.cudenver.edu/~lsherry/pubs/issues.html Smaldino, S. Instructional design for distance educati on. [Collection of Essays] Retrieved August 2, 2003, from http://fcae.nova.edu/pet/simonson/monograph.PDF Smith Gratto, K. (1999). Distance education best practices and problems. Report to the distance education evaluation Task Force. North Carolina A & T State University Retrieved July 27, 2003, from http://qed.ncat.edu/ir&p/report.htm Spira, J. (1998). Integrating principles of progres sive education into technology based distance learning Retrieved November 2002, from http://horizon.unc.edu/projects/monograph/CD/Professional_Schools/Spira.asp Spitzer, D. (March April, 2001). Dont forget the high touch with the high tech in distance learning. Educational Technology 51 55. State of Illinois Board of Higher Education: Distance Learning Status Report. (June, 2001). Retrieved November 2002, fr om http://www.ibhe.state.il.us/Board/Agendas/2001/June/item08b.pdf Student Retention in Distance Learning: Why do students drop out? distancestudies.com Retrieved October 15, 2002, from http://www.distancestudies.com/ article .cfm?ArtId=6997&fromIndex=301&toIndex=588 &level= 1 Theory Into Practice (n d. ). Theories. Tip Dat abase. Retrieved June 18, 2003, from http://tip.psychology.org/theories.html Tomei, L. (2003). Learning theories A primer exercise. University of Southern California Retrieved February 23, 2003, from http://www.duq.edu/~tomei/ed711psy/h_rogers.htm United States Distance Learning Association. (July, 2003). [Electronic Version] 3 (8) Retrieved July 31, 2003, from http://www.adn.com/alaska/story/3384358p 3415083c.html University of Illinois. (1999). Teaching at an Internet distance: the pedagogy of online teaching and learning. University of Illinois Faculty Semin ar Retrieved July 27, 2003, from http://www.fortlewis.edu/committees/Faculty_Assembly/09 15 00_FAS/AttachC_Teachg_on_Intrnt.html Waits, T. & Lewis, L. (July, 2003). U.S. Department of Education Center for Education Statistics. Distance e ducation at Degree Granting Postsecondary Institutions: 2000 2001. National Center for Educational Statistics

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63 Walsh, J. (2003). Distance learnings growing reach. THE Journal Retrieved July 31, 2003, from http://www.thejournal.com/magazine/vault/A1049A.cfm Willis, B. (2000). Distance educations best kept secrets. Commentary. Retrieved N ovember 15, 2 0 02, from http://ts.mivu.org/default.asp?show=article&id=673 Willis, B. (2002). Distance education at a glance. University of Idaho Retrieved October 15, 2002, from http://www.uidaho.edu/evo/dist9.htm Winn, W. (1990). Some implications of cognitive theory for instructional design. Zook, K. B. (2001). Instructional Design for Classroom Teaching and Learning. Boston: Hough ton Mifflin. Zvacek, S. M. Whats my grad e? Assessing Learner Progress. [ collection of essays ] Retrieved August 2, 2003, from http://fcae.nova.edu/pet/simonson/monograph.PDF

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64 Appendices

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65 Appendix A: Exit Survey Evaluation of Corrective Feedback in Online Classes Your participation is critical to the success of this study. Based on your online course this semester, please answer the following questions. All responses will remain confidential. 1. Did you attend the orientation meeting for this class? ____ Yes ____ No 2. Did you attend a Distance Learning technical workshop this semester? ___ Yes ___ No 3. How many online classes have you taken in the past? ____ 0 __ __ 1 ____ 2 ____ 3 ____ 4 ____ 5 ____ 6 ____ 7 ____ 8 ____ 9 4. How would you rate your computer skills? ____ Excellent ____ Good ____ Average ____ Fair ____ Poor Corrective Feedback is defined as any positive comments or suggestions an instructor gives a student (verbally or in writing) on any assignments and quizzes/exams. Based on this definition of feedback, please answer the following questions. 5. The instructor provided corrective feedback on assignments. ___ St rongly Agree ___ Agree ___ Neutral ___ Disagree ___ Strongly Disagree 6. The instructor provided corrective feedback on exams/quizzes. ___ Strongly Agree ___ Agree ___ Neutral ___ Disagree ___ Strongly Disagree 7. The corrective feedbac k I received in this class had an affect on me completing the class? ___ Strongly Agree ___ Agree ___ Neutral ___ Disagree ___ Strongly Disagree 8. I was satisfied with the corrective feedback I received in this class. ___ Strongly Agree ___ Agree ___ Neutral ___ Disagree ___ Strongly Disagree 9. I was satisfied with the quality of the corrective feedback received in this class. ___ Strongly Agree ___ Agree ___ Neutral ___ Disagree ___ Strongly Disagree 10. Do you anticip ate completing this course? Yes No

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66 Appendix B: Informational Letter October 21, 2003 Lori Kielty Central Florida Community College PO Box 1388 Ocala, FL 34474 Dear Student: Your help is needed to enhance Central Florida Community Colleges on line classes. Students registered in Professor Hiatts Micro Economics and Macro Economics online classes; and Professor Kirks World Civilizations 1 and World Civilizations 2 online classes have been selected to take part in the following research project Feedback in Distance Learning: Do student perceptions of corrective feedback affect retention in distance learning? Your participation in the study is strictly voluntary. The data gathered from your survey will be confidential; your instructor will not be informed of individual responses. The results of the research project will not include your name or any other information that would identify you in any way. What you need to do? 1) Sign and date the informed consent form. 2) Complete the short 10 question exit survey. 3) Return the informed consent form and the survey in the enclosed self addressed stamped envelope by November 1, 2004. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (352) 854 2322 x1383, or kieltyl@cf.edu Sincerely, Lori Kielty, Instructor Business and Technology


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ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a correlation between students' perception of corrective feedback and retention in online classes. A total of 134 community college students were enrolled in six online classes taught by three full-time instructors. The research questions addressed were as follows: RQ1. How are the students' perception of corrective feedback and student retention related? RQ2. Are students who attend course orientation meetings more likely to complete the course? RQ3. Are students who attend distance learning technical workshops more likely to complete the course? RQ4. Are students who have taken other online classes more likely to complete the course? RQ5. How are the students' perceived computer skills and student retention related? An exit survey was administered to gather quantitative data, which was then analyzed using Pearson's Phi Coefficient and Spearman's Rank Order Correlation. The study failed to indicate a sign significant relationship between (a) attending course orientation and retention, (b) attending technical workshops and retention, (c) prior online experience and retention, and (d) students' perception of computer experience and retention. The data indicates a significant relationship between students' perception of corrective feedback and retention. It is important to note that despite every attempt to solicit students who dropped the course, the students who dropped tended not to return the survey. Therefore, the sample did not accurately represent the population. As a result of the sampling error, there is little variability in the dependent measure; thus, the results have the potential of being biased. Based on the research finding for this study, educators would benefit from research studies that focus on the following: (a) exploring procedural changes (i.e. increasing the number of useable surveys, increasing the number of respondents, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the data validation process, and increasing the generalizability of the study, (b) exploring student perception of quality, timeliness and consistency of corrective feedback, and (c) conducting individual case studies with online students.
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