During the last decade, technology has made a dramatic impact on the pedagogical environment of business schools across the country and this trend is likely to accelerate in future. Two major forms of technology-mediated learning that have emerged are: web based instruction and distance learning. Also, the number of part-time, off-campus, and non-traditional students is growing. The demands of family and work place often prevent such students from going back to campus on a full-time basis. Compression technologies, increased computing power and speed, high quality video transmission, and access to highspeed Internet and their declining costs, have made distance learning a viable medium of instruction. From an economic perspective, distance learning allows sharing of instructional costs among multiple sites, giving schools that implement distance learning programs a cost advantage (Yang 2006). It also gives the schools an opportunity to tap the market segment of non-traditional students and students residing in remote regions (Walsh and Reese 1995). Therefore, it is not surprising that an increasing number of universities, both large and small, currently offer courses and sometimes even entire degree programs in a distance learning environment. (Mackay and Stockport 2006).
Despite such widespread use of distance learning technology, there is scant evidence about students’ perceptions of the teaching environment in distance learning
courses. This paper examines responses to a survey of students enrolled in a variety of distance learning business courses. The remainder of this paper is organized as follows. First, various distance learning delivery formats are reviewed and the class environment in which distance learning courses are offered at a regional university is described. Sample selection procedure and descriptive statistics are provided in section 3. The fourth section provides a review of prior research and presents the hypotheses tested in this study. The results appear in section 5. Limitations of the study are pointed out in section 6. The final
section summarizes the results of the study.
This article is from the Accounting Instructors’ Report, an electronic journal that provides teaching tips and insights to those who teach accounting and other business courses.
Sanjay Gupta, Ph.D., CPA, CMA, Corresponding author, Associate Professor, Department of Accounting & Finance, Valdosta State University
Avinash Arya, Assistant Professor of Accounting, University of Michigan – Flint