Date of Award

Winter 1995

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

Nina Brown

Committee Director

Rebecca S. Bowers

Committee Member

Anne Raymond-Savage

Committee Member

Steve Gaither

Committee Member

Bob MacDonald

Committee Member

Donna Evans


The factors contributing to the quality of learning in distance education were investigated. These factors were used to develop an empirically based model for the assessment of the quality of learning in distance education. The affective, cognitive, and conative domains of learning and the ethical domain of distance education were defined and used as the theoretical foundation for a search of distance education studies and evaluations that identified over 150 variables that potentially affected quality of learning. A Delphi technique was used to validate the variables and construct a survey instrument. Surveys were distributed to 3 groups totaling 523 students attending 4 classes during the Fall, 1995 semester at ODU. The three groups were Teletechnet students (class via satellite), studio students (class at the satellite transmission site), and students attending identical on-campus classes taught by the same instructor. Tests of significance for the demographic data, and ANOVA, MANOVA, and factor analyses for the scale data were conducted for the 248 surveys returned. There were 3 significant demographic differences between Teletechnet and on-campus students: age (p<.01), student status (p $<$.001), and work status (p <.01). There were no significant differences between the on-campus and studio classes and these classes were combined for the factor analysis. The factor analysis reduced the 150 variables to 7 factors for Teletechnet students and 8 factors for on-campus students that accounted for over 50% of variance in the analysis. These factors were given descriptive names and their contribution to variance was used to construct the quality of learning assessment model for distance education. These factors showed Teletechnet students more concerned with the lower levels of the cognitive domain of learning and on-campus students more concerned with the higher levels of the cognitive domain. The analysis showed that neither technology nor affective domain related variables contributed significantly to the factors defining the quality of learning for these students. It was recommended that evaluations for Teletechnet and on-campus students contain questions to reflect the factors that are most important to each group and that courses be designed to facilitate student interchange at distant sites.