Date of Award:

1989

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department:

Education

Advisor/Chair:

Dr. Byron R. Burnham

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between students' motivational orientations and their perceptions of an electronic distance education (EDE) environment. Subjects were 156 participants (81 women, 75 men; 83 undergraduates, 73 graduate students) enrolled in Utah State University's electronic distance education system, Com-Net.

A comparison group was also utilized, that consisted of 85 participants (64 females, 21 males; 34 undergraduates, 51 graduates) from rural Utah enrolled in Utah State University extension programs. These students were from seven classes which were taught by the traditional method with an instructor physically present.

Correlation coefficients were computed to test the hypotheses of this study. The independent variables (motivational orientations), as measured by Boshier's Education Participation Scale, were correlated with the dependent variables (satisfaction, material environment, involvement, and extension) as measured by the Learning Environment Inventory and the College and University Classroom Environment Inventory. One-way analyses of variance were computed to explore possible relationships with independent variables not included in the original hypotheses. Multiple regression analysis was used with satisfaction as the independent variable to look for possible explanations of student satisfaction.

The participants in this study differ significantly from the norms in their motivational orientations in the areas of professional advancement and cognitive interest. Although the null hypotheses were rejected the relationships were weak, and there appears to be little practical relationship between motivational orientations and participants' satisfaction.

These results suggest that participant satisfaction is largely independent of initial motives that impel individuals to participate. Motivational orientations' minimal impact on participant satisfaction suggest that the sources of variation in satisfaction lie elsewhere. There may be other internal variables that affect satisfaction, but more probably there are external variables that greatly influence satisfaction.

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