An Investigation of Students' Perceptions of Their Distance Learning Experiences at Two Selected North Carolina Community Colleges

Melissa Oxendine, Fayetteville State University


With the increasing demand of students seeking online education, it has become a challenge for colleges and universities to train faculty to design classes comparable to the rigorous content found in traditional face-to-face classes. Faculty must be trained to adapt their teaching strategies to allow for the role of facilitator in the online environment to allow for more student-centered than instructor-centered teaching. Faculty must also assume the responsibility of utilizing the technology to its fullest potential to engage students in effective teaching and learning. For many, the flexibility and asynchronous instruction, without the constraints of time and place, provides more time to devote to family and work responsibilities while still seeking a higher education degree. The purpose of this study was to investigate students' perceptions of their distance learning experiences at two selected North Carolina Community Colleges. The purpose of this study was to also investigate students' perceptions of (a) professional relationships, (b) academic feedback, (c) faculty engagement, and (d) utilization of resources in distance learning environments at the two colleges. For this study, two groups of students enrolled in Early Childhood Programs in North Carolina Community Colleges were surveyed. A quantitative research design was used to determine if there was a significant difference in each variable related to the study. Quantitative data created using an online survey created using Survey Monkey®. Data were exported from Survey Monkey® and imported into the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS®) software for further analysis. Eighty-one participants completed the survey. A series of chi-square analyses were conducted between schools and the variables of overall satisfaction, faculty professional relationships, academic feedback, engagement, and utilization of resources. A series of Fisher's exact test analyses were also conducted when the assumptions of the chi-square test were violated, Fisher's exact test can be used to produce more reliable results with smaller sample sizes. The chi-square analyses and Fisher's exact test for each research question did not indicate a significant difference between the two schools and groups of students. The results of the study have the potential to benefit students enrolled in distance education courses and also administrators who are making decisions impacting distance learning courses. The results will also have the potential to assist administrators as they develop policies and procedures for online instructors to ensure the development of high quality courses leading to increased student success and higher retention rates. It is recommended future studies be conducted to include various disciplines to determine if research findings will be similar to the findings of this research. It is also recommended future studies examine GPA, retention and successful completion of online courses.

Subject Area

Community college education|Educational leadership|Early childhood education

Recommended Citation

Oxendine, Melissa, "An Investigation of Students' Perceptions of Their Distance Learning Experiences at Two Selected North Carolina Community Colleges" (2017). ETD Collection for Fayetteville State University. AAI13872489.