49 poster

Interactions of students in online graduate courses

Joyce McCauley
Houston State University

Susan Wegmann
University of Central Florida

Catherine Stoicovy
University of Guam

Mary Robbins
Sam Houston State University

Online learning is gaining in popularity with students and with university faculty worldwide.  Most researchers agree that developing and nurturing communities within the online environment are critical elements in creating rich and empowering learning experiences.  There is, however, little direction for developing a community of learners among a global student body. This poster describes one university’s investigation of its online courses as it explores the participation of the graduate students in four types of interactions: (a) learner-content (the interaction between students and the course materials), (b) learner-teacher (the interaction between the students and the instructors), (c) learner-learner (the interaction between and among students), and (d) learner-interface (the interaction of the students with the online environment).  A survey was created based on these four types of interactions and sent to previous and current graduate students. Preliminary results show positive responses in all four types of interactions.  The surveys returned, however, were from Anglo-American students that comprise the majority of our graduate population.  As our program expands to attract more students from outside of the United States, we will continue to administer the survey to monitor our focus on establishing rich interactions and rapport among and between students and teachers.

Keywords: online learning, higher education, collaborative learning, interaction