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Journal of Information Systems Education

Abstract

Students have various motivations for participating and engaging in courses offered by distance education technologies over the Internet. While many of these courses have traditionally been Web-based asynchronous offerings, enhanced technology and reduced costs of IP-enabled teleconferenced synchronous course sections are encouraging more institutions to adopt this effective option for delivering important content to several physical locations at the same time. This study examines differential student motivations for participating in local and distance teleconferenced sections of an information technology course, enabled by Internet-based videoconferencing. This research lends support to three hypotheses concerning technologymediated distance education systems. First, that traditional college age students prefer the local section of a distance education course on measures of satisfaction with the teleconferenced course, while non-traditional (age 25-34) students do not share this preference. Second, that older, non-traditional, students rate a distant course higher for satisfaction than do 18-24 year old students. Finally, that the social presence advantages of Internet-enabled teleconferencing appeal more to socially-oriented students than they do to students with a low social orientation. An unexpected, but serendipitous, finding of this research was that the group that could likely derive the greatest benefits from Internet-enabled distance education - older, non-traditional students - also may be more comfortable with the use of that technology, based on their higher reported degrees of selfperceived technical competency.

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