Students’ attitudes to online learning experience

Pratt, Simon and Dell, Eric (2003) Students’ attitudes to online learning experience. Investigations in university teaching and learning, 1 (2). pp. 40-44. ISSN 1740-5106


Various theorists from Vygotsky (1978) to proponents of situated learning (Lave & Wenger, 1991) have stressed the importance of social interaction in the learning process. Traditionally, computers have been seen largely as tools for specific tasks but there is now a growing practice and literature (e.g. Koschmann 1996; Palloff & Pratt 1999) on their use to support collaborative learning. Much of this literature has been very positive about the impact of new learning technologies on teaching and learning. However, we were interested in looking at these technologies from students' points of view as learners. Hara and Kling (1999) suggested several reasons for the plethora of positive accounts of students’ experience in online learning environments - the main one being that course developers and teachers tend to be "biased towards technology" and view their courses through rose-tinted glasses. Their paper concluded that students do suffer frustration and that this originated from three main sources: technological problems; infrequent and minimal feedback from tutors and unclear instructions put out on the web or by email. This paper explores the factors that affected our students’ attitudes to their experience of working in an online learning environment.

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