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Students' Perceptions of the Value of the Elements of an Online Learning Environment: An Investigation of Discipline Differences

Authors: Stuart Palmer, Dale Holt


This paper presents a large scale, quantitative investigation of the impact of discipline differences on the student experience of using an online learning environment (OLE). Based on a representative sample of 2526 respondents, a number of significant differences in the mean rating by broad discipline area of the importance of, and satisfaction with, a range of elements of an OLE were found. Broadly speaking, the Arts and Science and Technology discipline areas reported the lowest importance and satisfaction ratings for the OLE, while the Health and Behavioural Sciences area was the most satisfied with the OLE. A number of specific, systematic discipline differences are reported and discussed. Compared to the observed significant differences in mean importance ratings, there were fewer significant differences in mean satisfaction ratings, and those that were observed were less systematic than for importance ratings.

Keywords: Student Evaluation, Learning Management System, online learning environment, Discipline difference

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