Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
As online education grows, institutions must develop and evaluate student services to meet the needs of adult online students. The university at which the study was conducted had growing online enrollment, but no systematic examination of services from the students' perspective to drive service development and improvement. This represented a gap in self-evaluation, and the research confirmed gaps in student service offerings at the university compared to field standards. The purpose of this project study was to drive improvement of online student services based on analysis of student-driven data. The research questions asked how important academic and support services were to the university's online students and how satisfied the students were with the services. This quantitative study used the Priorities Survey for Online Students based on the expectation disconfirmation theory to collect data. The survey was sent to all of the university's 477 online undergraduate and graduate students. Descriptive statistics were used to compare the university's student responses to national data, report areas of service challenge, and assess variation in satisfaction according to previous online education experience. Key findings included lower than national mean satisfaction with career and tutoring services, challenge areas related to Blackboard preparedness, clarity of program requirements and communication channels, and lower levels of satisfaction with the most experienced online students. A presentation and white paper project were created for the university leadership with recommendations for using study results to improve and develop online student services. Social change is expected through improved and expanded online student services as a result of the project study.