Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32302
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: Discipline difference, learning management system, online learning environment, student evaluation.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 1275


[1] M. F. Salinas, "From Dewey to Gates: A model to integrate psychoeducational principles in the selection and use of instructional technology," Computers & Education, vol. 50, pp. 652-660, 2008.
[2] R. West, G. Waddoups, and C. Graham, "Understanding the experiences of instructors as they adopt a course management system," Educational Technology Research and Development, vol. 55, pp. 1-26, 2007.
[3] D. Reynolds, D. Treharne, and H. Tripp, "ICT - the hopes and the reality," British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 34, pp. 151- 167, 2003.
[4] N. Hammond and C. Bennett, "Discipline differences in role and use of ICT to support group-based learning," Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, vol. 18, pp. 55-63, 2002.
[5] S. White and I. Liccardi, "Harnessing Insight into Disciplinary Differences to Refine e-learning Design," in 36th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, San Diego, 2006, pp. 5-10.
[6] G. G. Smith, A. T. Torres-Ayala, and A. J. Heindel, "Disciplinary Differences in E-learning Instructional Design," Journal of Distance Education, vol. 22, pp. 63-88, 2008.
[7] R. Woods, J. D. Baker, and D. Hopper, "Hybrid structures: Faculty use and perception of web-based courseware as a supplement to face-to-face instruction," The Internet and Higher Education, vol. 7, pp. 281-297, 2004.
[8] Y. Xu and K. A. Meyer, "Factors explaining faculty technology use and productivity," The Internet and Higher Education, vol. 10, pp. 41-52, 2007.
[9] G. H. Jones and B. H. Jones, "A Comparison of Teacher and Student Attitudes Concerning Use and Effectiveness of Web-based Course Management Software," Educational Technology & Society, vol. 8, pp. 125-135, 2005.
[10] M. Novell, X. Jaén, and X. Bohigas, "A review of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning environments " in 15th EAEEIE Annual Conference on Innovation in Education for Electrical and Information Engineering, Sofia, 2004, pp. 63-68.
[11] R. G. Wingard, "Classroom Teaching Changes in Web-Enhanced Courses: A Multi-Institutional Study," EDUCAUSE Quarterly, vol. 27, pp. 26-35, 2004.
[12] R. M. Bernard, P. C. Abrami, Y. Lou, E. Borokhovski, A. Wade, L. Wozney, P. A. Wallet, M. Fiset, and B. Huang, "How Does Distance Education Compare With Classroom Instruction? A Meta-Analysis of the Empirical Literature," Review of Educational Research, vol. 74, pp. 379-439, 2004.
[13] A. Kirkwood and L. Price, "Learners and learning in the twenty-first century: what do we know about students' attitudes towards and experiences of information and communication technologies that will help us design courses?," Studies in Higher Education, vol. 30, pp. 257 - 274, 2005.
[14] G. Conole, M. de Laat, T. Dillon, and J. Darby, JISC LXP Student experiences of technologies - Final report. Bristol: JISC, 2006.
[15] D. M. Holt and D. J. Thompson, "Responding to the technological imperative: The experience of one open and distance education institution," Distance Education: An International Journal, vol. 16, pp. 43-64, 1995.
[16] Deakin University. (2009, November 2). Online Technologies in Courses and Units - Procedure (Online). Available: 2566f3000a65de/4d252055c8941cfbca256e64000f8bb3
[17] T. Browne, M. Jenkins, and R. Walker, "A longitudinal perspective regarding the use of VLEs by higher education institutions in the United Kingdom," Interactive Learning Environments, vol. 14, pp. 177 - 192, 2006.
[18] Deakin University. (2009, November 2). 2008 Pocket Statistics
[Online]. Available:
[19] C. Cook, F. Heath, and R. L. Thompson, "A Meta-Analysis of Response Rates in Web- or Internet-Based Surveys," Educational and Psychological Measurement, vol. 60, pp. 821-836, 2000.
[20] S. Palmer and D. Holt, "Online learning environments: same place; different demographic space?," in 26th Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education Auckland: ascilite, 2009, pp. 704-713.
[21] J. P. Merisotis and R. A. Phipps, "What's the Difference? Outcomes of Distance vs. Traditional Classroom-Based Learning," Change, vol. 31, pp. 12-17, 1999.
[22] E. Zimmerman and J. Bar-Ilan, "PIM @ academia: how e-mail is used by scholars," Online Information Review, vol. 33, pp. 22-42, 2009.
[23] N. A. Bereman and J. A. Scott, "Using the Compa-Ratio to Detect Gender Bias in Faculty Salaries," The Journal of Higher Education, vol. 62, pp. 556-569, 1991.
[24] H. L. Grob, F. Bensberg, and B. L. Dewanto, "Developing, Deploying, Using and Evaluating an Open Source Learning Management System," Journal of Computing and Information Technology, vol. 12, pp. 127- 134, 2004.
[25] S. Lonn and S. D. Teasley, "Saving time or innovating practice: Investigating perceptions and uses of Learning Management Systems," Computers & Education, vol. 53, pp. 686-694, 2009.
[26] R. Higgins, P. Hartley, and A. Skelton, "The Conscientious Consumer: reconsidering the role of assessment feedback in student learning," Studies in Higher Education, vol. 27, pp. 53 - 64, 2002.
[27] M. Weaver, "Do students value feedback? Student perceptions of tutors' written responses," Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, vol. 31, pp. 379-394, 2006.
[28] P. Arlow, "Personal characteristics in college students' evaluations of business ethics and corporate social responsibility," Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 10, pp. 63-69, 1991.
[29] C. Emery, T. Kramer, and R. Tian, "Customers vs. products: adopting an effective approach to business students," Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 9, pp. 110-115, 2001.
[30] D. L. McCabe, K. D. Butterfield, and L. K. Trevi├▒o, "Academic Dishonesty in Graduate Business Programs: Prevalence, Causes, and Proposed Action," Academy of Management Learning & Education, vol. 5, pp. 294-305, 2006.
[31] D. U. Bolliger and O. Wasilik, "Factors influencing faculty satisfaction with online teaching and learning in higher education," Distance Education, vol. 30, pp. 103 - 116, 2009.