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Socioeconomic Status– and Gender-Based Differences in Students’ Perceptions of E-Learning Systems

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ABSTRACT

Many universities are pursuing increases in on-line course offerings as a means of offsetting the rising costs of providing high-quality educational opportunities and of better serving their student populations. However, enrollments in online courses are not always sufficient to cover their costs. One possible way of improving enrollments is through marketing campaigns targeted to specific demographic groups. In this study, we take a first look into how students’ perceptions of e-learning systems, prior to their enrollment in an online course, vary across socioeconomic status and gender. Findings suggest that prior to taking an online course, working-class students perceive e-learning systems more positively than their middle-class peers but that little difference exists between genders. Armed with this knowledge, universities may improve online course enrollments by marketing online courses specifically to working-class students or through campaigns aimed at improving middle-class students’ perceptions of e-learning systems.

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