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Student Perspectives: Responses to Internet Opportunities in a Distance Learning Environment

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Mid-South Educational Research Association Annual Meeting,


This study examined student attitudes toward interactions with class members on an Internet site supplementing a multimedia graduate-level distance learning course at Ball State University (Indiana). The course, "Elementary School Curriculum" was taught in a studio classroom (of 13 students) and transmitted to five distant sites (involving 24 students) in Indiana. Technology included two-way audio signals and one-way video signals for in-class interaction and an Internet World Wide Web site for out-of-class interaction. Qualitative evidence-collection techniques included focus group interviews, telephone interviews, and eight survey instruments. Analysis of students' reactions to the Internet site focused on coping strategies, stressors, and benefits. Students reported strategies involving management of personal resources, the computer environment, self, and others. Predominant themes in student reactions included three stressors and two benefits. Stressors reported included concerns associated with communication issues, with computer involvement, and with computer and Internet access. Benefits most frequently identified were the sense of empowerment and the satisfaction of having a shared space with fellow classmates. Implications drawn include the value of moderator leadership, the importance of a face-to-face encounter, the challenges of the on-line text-based medium, the influence of learning and temperament styles, and the development of computer-supported collaborative learning opportunities. (Contains 54 references.) (DB)


Saunders, N.G., Malm, L.D., Malone, B.G., Nay, F.W., Oliver, B.E. & Thompson, J.C. (1997). Student Perspectives: Responses to Internet Opportunities in a Distance Learning Environment. Presented at Mid-South Educational Research Association Annual Meeting 1997. Retrieved April 12, 2021 from .

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