Purpose of the study
Reports on the distance education literature abound: they principally concern the student performance with televised courses at remote sites. There is a similar or even better achievement for these students than for those who take traditional courses.
However, according to the authors, Biner and colleagues, these investigations are limited to the student performance and ignore other variables such as student attitudes and in particular student satisfaction. It would seem that greater student satisfaction will give rise to a higher fidelity and committment student to the program and consequently the success of the courses.
Another non-investigated variable seems to be student motivation which is determinant in student performance as well as in their sustained effort. Apparently the number of student in given remote-sites courses does influence their satisfaction and motivation. But it is not yet clear to which extend this works in the positive sense or in the negative.
The main object of the investigation was to find out howfar the number of course attendance would result in satisfaction and motivation.
For such purpose, a broadly-used telecourse attitudinal questionnaire was submitted to a large number of students of such College level courses.
Subjects : 288 undergraduate students , mostly female, from 16 years old to 60 years, enrolled in 17 telecourses at a large U.S. university.
Live broadcast was applied to the class sessions.
Telecourses/Sites: : Contents of the 17 telecourses show a large variety of subjects.
The telecourses are attended at a large number of sites mainly in business and helfcare areas.
Attitudinal Assessment Instrument : The afore mentionated questionnaire was the main investigation instrument used to measure student satisfaction with the various factors of interactive telecourses.
Performance assessment : Besides the said questionnaire, there was another form asking students for their final telecourse grades and prior College GPA.
The questionnaire as well as the waiver form were given to the students after an introductive video session.
Site Size as a Predictor of Facet Satisfaction
An evaluation was made between site size and facet satisfaction as related to each other, which at the end, showed that small sites resulted in higher facet satisfaction.
Site Size as a Predictor of Overall telecourse satisfaction
In the same way as hereabove, the outcome was that high overall telecourse satisfaction was rather found at sites with the fewest student.
Site Size as a Predictor of Relative performance
Here it appeared that class sessions with a small number of students resulted in a telecourse performance level exceeding the level of prior academic level of the students.
The investigation hereabove fairly well supports that remote-site groupe size affects the satisfaction and motivation (performance exceeding previous academic achievements) of televised college-level course students, in the sense that more populous sites are detrimental to student attitudes and performance, while the overall number of enrollments per course remains irrelevant in this respect.
It would seem that small sites are relatively free of intimidation, distraction or apprehension, and so lead to overall positive feelings which in turn cover all telecourse aspects.
Considering the representativity of the samples used, one can argue that the results are generalizable to comparable college telecourses with similar institutions.
One of the main direct implications of the research is also that students can draw serious benefits from following such classes alone in their homes, since it came out that these people would experience the highest satisfaction and relative performance.
Sylvie Ursulet Mai 1999