Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Learning Sciences and Human Development

Committee Chair

Michael Cunningham.


The purpose of this study is to determine what factors influence online course satisfaction. Additionally, the study investigates differences in demographics between traditional student populations and those students attracted to online courses. Research questions were defined for investigating relationship between student satisfaction in the online course with the of the amount of learner interaction and feedback, the reason students enrolled in the course, faculty expertise in online technologies, the course pace, the combination of instructional strategies used in the course, and the students prior experience with the online course product. Additionally, course retention data was calculated as a secondary satisfaction indicator. To achieve this purpose, the Flashlight Current Student Inventory and Flashlight Gap Analysis surveys were utilized in the study. Standard research methodology was used to collect, analyze, and report on the data. The research population for this study was 1129 Marshall University students enrolled in 50 online courses during the fall 1999 term. The responses indicate that students enrolled in online courses are more likely to be older than traditional students, and have a higher percentage of females. Overall, student satisfaction with online courses was medium to high. The data implies the student satisfaction is influenced by the amount and type of learner interaction and feedback, the reason why a student takes a course, faculty technical expertise, the pace of the course, and the type of instructional strategies employed in the course. The data did not support the notion that a student's expertise in the online course delivery product called WebCT influenced student satisfaction. The retention rates for online courses exceeded the traditional course rate.