CCE Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Timothy Ellis

Committee Member

Maxine S. Cohen

Committee Member

Yair Levy


The purpose of this study was to determine quality indicators within asynchronous distance education undergraduate courses at an accredited institution. The definition of quality is in and of itself obscure. Therefore, the identification of indicators or characteristics of quality in courses was a primary focus. The identification of such characteristics was based on input from the primary stakeholders in distance education, namely, the students, the administrators, and the instructors. Collecting data from each stakeholder group allowed for a comparison of those characteristics of quality deemed most important by each group. Initially an expert panel meeting was conducted to help categorize topic areas of importance as gleaned from the literature. Those topics were the basis for survey items that were submitted to a body of students, instructors, and administrators involved in distance education undergraduate courses. The survey was emailed to 2,360 participants that included 60 administrators, 300 instructors, and 2,000 students. The response rate was 60% from the administrator group, 61 % from the instructors, and 22.8% from the students for a total of 675 responses or a 28.6% return rate. The responses to the survey were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. A comparison of the responses from the three stakeholder groups was performed.

The data analyses indicated that each group agreed that technical issues, course design, class procedures and expectations, interaction, and content delivery are factors that identify quality in distance education courses. A consensus among all stakeholders as to what constitutes quality could be the catalyst for possible improvements to distance education courses in the future. Distance education is still forging new ground and input from the stakeholders should be advantageous for advancing and improving the quality of courses.

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