Date of Award

Fall 2002

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Pink, William

Second Advisor

Whipp, Joan

Third Advisor

Schweizer, Heidi


This qualitative case study investigated the learning experiences and strategies of two first time asynchronous online learners. Each of the online learners participated in the study while working through the same online course, at the same university, and with the same instructor. The course was administered through the school of education at the university and was designed for administrators and human resources personnel. Data was gathered from each participant by a series of interviews, email journal exchanges, and submitted assignments (documents). The collection of data began prior to each participant beginning the sixteen-week course, and concluded at the end of the course. The asynchronous online course was organized into sixteen study modules. The name of each module of study for the course is located in Appendix A of the syllabus. The course used a software program called LearningSpace™ as the course management system (CMS). LearningSpace™ provided students with a "Course Room" for carrying on discussions and team activities, a "Media Room" where course-related documents and multi-media presentations were viewed, a "Personal Profiles" area with student and instructor contact information, and a "Schedule" with the assignments and tasks to be completed. The first module of the course was primarily designed as an introduction to LearningSpace™. This module led course participants through a series of exercises to become familiar with the general operation of LearningSpace™. It also offered tips on taking an online course and a description of the papers, discussions, activities, and projects to be completed. A grading rubric was included showing point totals and corresponding grades. After completing module one, students had the basic skills necessary to work through modules two through sixteen. A final project and short report to the class concluded the course. The collected data was disaggregated by typological analysis and reported in sequential quarterly four-week intervals. The findings were reported in sequential quarterly intervals so that progressive changes in the experiences or strategies of each participant might be noticed over time. The findings were summarized at the end of each quarter in the course. In addition, a cross-case analysis was conducted to discover areas of similarity or major difference in the learning experiences or strategies of the two participants. It is my intent that this study contributes knowledge to improve asynchronous online learning for both students and instructors.



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