News & Events

Chronicling engagement: students’ experience of online learning over time

Research led by the University of Tasmania has furthered the evidence base around online students by tracking engagement over the longer term.

Co-authored by NCSEHE Adjunct Fellow Associate Professor Cathy Stone (the University of Newcastle), this paper details fluctuations in engagement over a semester, and identifies a variety of contributing factors.

Tracey Muir, Naomi Milthorpe, Cathy Stone, Janet Dyment, Elizabeth Freeman and Belinda Hopwood

Published in Distance Education
28 April 2019


Although there is ample research into student engagement in online learning, much of this investigates the student experience through surveys administered at a fixed point in time, usually at the exit point of a single unit of study or course. The study described in this paper, by contrast, aimed to understand online student engagement over a whole semester, guided by two overarching questions: What factors impact students’ engagement over a semester? What factors account for fluctuation in engagement levels over time? This paper presents results from weekly feedback on online education students’ engagement over the length of one semester at a regional Australian university. It also chronicles in more depth the experiences of one student across the same semester. The findings offer longitudinal accounts of student engagement, demonstrating that levels of engagement fluctuate and are influenced by a variety of factors.

Read the full article here.

View more open access national and international journal articles.

Posted 2 May 2019 Posted in Disability, General, Indigenous, Low SES, Regional, rural and remote