Student Assumptions and Expectations Affecting Online Education

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Student Assumptions and Expectations Affecting Online Education by Mind Map: Student Assumptions and Expectations Affecting Online Education

1. Position

1.1. Convience & Flexibility

1.1.1. Nguyen and Zhang (2011) reported that the analyses of findings showed that students registered for online classes for convenience and flexibility cognizant that the face-to-face relations would be missed.

1.1.2. Independent Learners Independent learners confident in current technology tools, time management skills, and discipline to drive themselves through the curriculum would be self-sustaining in an asynchronous learning platform. Reflective, independent learners have discovered an appropriate match with regards to learning styles in online learning demonstrating the achievement of higher scores and completion rates (Brown, 2011). Brown (2011) states that instructors center the course material activities encompassing the engagement of the learners connecting to the course learning community through collaborative and participant learning styles.

1.1.3. Dependent Learners Learners unfamiliar with the content and technology would need the hands-on activities and instructional support representative of the learning styles common in a traditional course.

1.1.4. According to Brown (2011), communicative technology has evolved to allow social networking through Internet tools, such as discussion boards, chat rooms, blogs, wikis, and multimedia tools for the purpose of communication and collaboration.

1.2. Motivation & Persistance

1.2.1. With the innovation of communicative technology, the expanse of online education courses has awarded the instructors the capability to advocate social networking within the confines of the syllabus to appeal to the array of learning styles present within the online course learning community (Brown, 2011).

1.2.2. Current innovation of social networking technology has made it possible for instructor to hold synchronous chat sessions with students that will provide instant feedback to questions and clarifications needed for assignments (Nguyen & Zhang, 2011).

1.3. Digital Nativity

1.3.1. The digital natives are consistently communicating through a device of some kind and need social connectivity to respond within their world.

1.3.2. Collaboration and participation learning give them the social connectivity to share and learn through communication.

2. Confirmation

2.1. Convenience

2.1.1. Students are encouraged by the ability to study at anytime and anywhere.

2.1.2. Nguyen and Zhang (2011) state that asynchronous learning provides flexible online access of course materials from anywhere to allow the independent student to learn at their own rate, which is a common online learning expectation.

2.1.3. Mobile communication devices are an integral piece of the digital natives lives, and one that is difficult to operate without.

2.1.4. During the observation portion of the test, the students were completely quiet and focused on the social networking activities that connected the students together by the Internet through email and instant messaging to exchange web sites and humorous stories, listen to and share music, and discuss and solve homework assignments and projects (Lohnes & Kinzer, 2007).

2.2. Enjoyment and Independence

2.2.1. Students experience the enjoyment and freedom of controlling the mode of learning.

2.2.2. Studies show that mature students enrolled full-time succeed in distance learning due primarily to motivation and preparation (Nguyen & Zhang, 2011).

2.3. Motivation and Confidence

2.3.1. Studies show that mature students enrolled full-time succeed in distance learning due primarily to motivation and preparation (Nguyen & Zhang, 2011).

3. Introduction

3.1. Assumptions for taking online courses

3.1.1. Flexibility and convenience are the common assumptions for taking online courses and typical of independent learning style (Brown, 2011).

3.1.2. Due to convenience, online courses have been associated with the assumption of not being academically challenging.

3.1.3. Higher education students are technically integrated. Campbell (2012) state that the current generation should be classified as digital natives due to the manner that they assimilate technology into their world and prefer social and collaborative learning to the independent style offered through prescriptive learning.

3.1.4. Higher education students are recent high school graduates. Distance education opens the learning community to accept learners from abundant educational backgrounds, demographics and work experiences as a result of Internet access and unlimited time constraints; and works well to eliminate the last assumption.

3.2. Ethics needed to take online courses

3.2.1. Time management and discipline is a particular learning ethic needed to successfully pursue online learning.

3.2.2. Motivation and persistance are driven by demographics such as age, gender, work experience and education level (Nguyen and Zhang, 2011)

4. Concession/Refutation

4.1. Dependent Learners

4.1.1. Dependent learners require hands-on activities to enforce the learning objectives, the support of the instructor and other learners to hold them accountable, and to provide help when needed (Brown, 2011).

4.1.2. Traditional Courses The dependency offered in a traditional classroom is a common crutch for the dependent learner that is not strong in time-management, self-discipline, or technology skills and is dependent on the accountability of the classroom community to hold the student accountable and provide the needed learning feedback not immediately accessible in the online learning environment.

4.1.3. Online Courses Nonis and Fenner (2012) report that online courses require high levels of motivation and self-efficacy, and students have a higher success rate when the course was developed with autonomy, feedback, and variety of skills. When the course designer builds accessibility to feedback, skills, and learning community within the course syllabus, the success rate will increase due to the interactivity of the course design. Unfortunately, the response time of online questions may not always be appropriate for distance learning (Nguyen & Zhang, 2011). Social networking tools are allowing the instructors to hold real-time synchronous chats with students online to satisfy the need of face-to-face relations typically held in traditional classrooms (Brown, 2011). Technology is leading to innovation in the social educational interactions and evolving the methodologies that have been in place for decades. The technology being presented and accounted for is not experienced and documented enough to support change.

4.1.4. Higher education institutions should offer traditional and online courses so that the different learning styles are addressed, and the learner does not fail in a course that was the only available option remaining (Nonis & Fenner, 2012).

5. Conclusion

5.1. Education technology evolves faster than the research can document the innovation.

5.2. Assumptions and expectations can hold up progress if allowed, however, the persistent learners will get through.

5.3. The participants that allow themselves to be stopped, will be, otherwise, they will trudge through to victory.

5.4. Learners that thrive on innovation and emerging technology are on the merge of greatness.

5.5. They are the emergent learners of tomorrow passionate for more connections of knowledge.

6. References

6.1. Brown, V. (2011). Changing demographics of online courses. US-China Education Review, 8(4), 460-467. ISSN 1548-6613

6.2. Lohnes, S. & Kinzer, C. (2007). Questioning assumptions about students’ expectations for technology in college. Innovate, 3(5), 1-6. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from

6.3. Nguyen, D., & Zhang, Y. (2011). An empirical study of student attitudes toward acceptance of online instruction and distance learning. Contemporary Issues in Education Research, 4(November 11), 23-38. Retrieved January 24, 2013, from

6.4. Nonis, S. & Fenner, G. (2012). An exploratory study of student motivations for taking online courses and learning outcomes. Journal of Instructional Pedagogies, 1(1), 1-13. Retrieved January 22, 2013, from

6.5. Smith, A. & Campbell, S. (2012). Exploring a ‘middle ground’: Engagement with students in a social learning environment. The Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 10(3), 275-283. ISSN 1479-4403I