Online Students, Where are they and When do they do Homework? Case Study from an Online MS in GIScience Program

  •  Yi-Hwa Wu    
  •  Ming-Chih Hung    


Online courses provide the flexibility of time and location for both students and educators. From an administration viewpoint, online courses do not require physical classrooms, hence they require less university resources; as such, online courses are often seen as cash cows. Unfortunately, in some cases online courses are still considered second-tier because of delayed interactions between students and faculty members in an asynchronous class. In order for an administration to properly allocate university resources to online faculty, it is essential to know where online students are from. Similarly, online faculty must know when their students conduct course activities in order to provide timely and quality responses. This study examined 97 online students attending an MS in GIScience program over where they are from, and when they do their course activities. Our findings concluded that around 90% of online students were not from the traditional catchment area, and around 70% were from out of state. We also found that an average of 72% of course activities were conducted during weeknights (40%) and weekends (32%). 

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