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      Online Student Expectations: A Multifaceted, Student-centred Understanding of Online Education

      1
      Student Success
      Queensland University of Technology
      online education, student expectations, retention, student satisfaction

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          Abstract

          University students are more likely to feel satisfied and persist with their studies if their experiences have met their expectations, and vice versa (Wu, Tsai, Chen, & Wu, 2006). Understanding what online students expect, therefore, is important to guide how universities might satisfy and retain these students. Research into online student expectations to date, however, has been limited to pre-defined expectations of the academic experience, and extrapolations from traditional higher education. To gain a deeper understanding of what online students expect, the author conducted in-depth interviews with 43 commencing online students. Thematic analysis revealed online students’ expectations were described by six key themes: Motivation, Ability, Circumstances, Interaction, Curriculum, and Environment. The findings offer an empirical, student-centred, and multifaceted understanding of online student expectations. Opportunities are illuminated to clarify inaccurate expectations, and to design online education to better meet student needs, facilitating enhanced online student satisfaction and retention.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Student Success
          Queensland University of Technology
          01 October 2020
          : 11
          : 2
          : 91-98
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Curtin University
          Article
          1f3e5354202246f09507620d8975d3a0
          10.5204/ssj.1678
          737bf75f-e3a2-4b6f-a8c7-9c095f015957

          This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

          History
          Categories
          Theory and practice of education
          LB5-3640

          Education,Assessment, Evaluation & Research methods,Educational research & Statistics,Special education,General education
          online education,student expectations,retention,student satisfaction

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