Determining Online Graduate Student Expectations: The Use of MET Expectations HypothesisReport as inadecuate

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Journal of Educational Technology, v10 n2 p29-42 Jul-Sep 2013

This study presents the results of a grounded theory, multi-case, descriptive study. Transcript analysis was conducted of graduate students' responses to questions regarding their expectations of courses in which they were enrolled. Responses were captured within an expectations discussion board forum upon students' entry to the course. The researchers used met expectations hypothesis to help understand and assess graduate students' expectations. Analysis of transcripts revealed that graduate students' expectations were to compare and contrast previous learning to the content of current courses, learn about course topic, achieve degree or course requirement, and gain useful, applicable knowledge. Graduate students wanted to contribute to courses by sharing their personal and/or professional experiences, providing their own, different perspective, contributing to the course environment. Doctoral students wanted to contribute by learning the content. There was not a lot of commonality expressed with regards to expectation changes; the student simply wanted to express that they had made a change. In addition, the researchers developed a stacked matrix in a multi-case format categorized by masters and doctoral students' expectations of course, contribution to course, expectation changes and themes to provide a comparison of groups to triangulate the data. The results of the study illustrate that students do bring their own expectations to a course which may or may not align with course descriptions and/or objectives outlined in a syllabus.

Descriptors: Graduate Students, Expectation, Hypothesis Testing, Student Attitudes, Transcripts (Written Records), Performance Factors, Influences, Attitude Change, Grounded Theory, Student Educational Objectives, Online Courses, Participant Satisfaction

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Author: Hughes, Claretha; Bax, Patrice; Brack, Marty; Beck, Dennis


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