Distance Learning: Relationships among Class Size, Instructor Location, Student Perceptions, and Performance

Authors

  • Brenda Sugrue,

    Corresponding author
    1. The University of Iowa
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      Assistant professor in the Instructional Design and Technology program at the University of Iowa. She was also the Director of the university's faculty development program in technology for two years. Her research interests are distance learning, human performance technology, and cognitive assessment.

  • Thomas Rietz,

    Corresponding author
    1. The University of Iowa
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      Associate professor of Finance in the College of Business Administration at the University of Iowa. He teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses, including distance learning courses in an executive M.B.A. program. His research interests include decision-making and risk-taking in financial markets. He is one of the directors of Iowa Electronic Markets.

  • Sarah Hansen

    Corresponding author
    1. The University of Iowa
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      Program assistant in Student Health Services at the University of Iowa where she is involved in program development, consultation, teaching, and research related to health education.


304N Lindquist Center, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242. E-mail: brenda-sugrue@uiowa.edu

S233 Pappajohn Business Administration Building, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242. E-mail: thomas-rietz@uiowa.edu

4169 Westlawn, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242. E-mail: sarah-hansen@uiowa.edu

ABSTRACT

This study investigated differences in student perceptions and performance among three distance learning sites taking the same off-campus M.B.A. course with the same instructor, The sites varied in class size and instructor location. Two classes (one large and one small) were linked using a two-way video system with rotating origination. The third class was small and was taught in person each week. Data were collected over an entire semester. Class size influenced performance more than location of instructor. Performance in the two smaller classes was better than performance in the large class. Student characteristics and site variables accounted for over 50% of variance in performance. One interaction effect was found. Students with initial low perceived value did best when the instructor was physically present each week. For students with high initial perceived value, location of instructor did not matter.

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