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The effect of affiliation activities on drop-out, satisfaction, and performance in distance education Persons, Heather Jamieson 1985

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THE EFFECT OF AFFILIATION ACTIVITIES ON DROP-OUT, SATISFACTION, AND PERFORMANCE IN DISTANCE EDUCATION by HEATHER JAMIESON PERSONS A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY AND SPECIAL EDUCATION We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to,, the, r e q u i r e d standard,. THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October, 1985 © HEATHER JAMIESON PERSONS, 1985 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r an advanced degree at the The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and study. I f u r t h e r agree that p e r m i s s i o n f o r ext e n s i v e copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h i s or her r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s understood t h a t copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be allowed without my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY AND SPECIAL EDUCATION The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook P l a c e Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Date: October, 1985 i i A b s t r a c t Students who are unable or u n w i l l i n g t o a t t e n d c l a s s e s a t an e d u c a t i o n a l i n s t i t u t i o n can o f t e n study at home through d i s t a n c e education programs. A c o n s i s t e n t l y noted problem f o r students i n thes e programs c e n t r e s on the i s o l a t i o n e x p e r i e n c e d i n such independent study. T h i s sense of i s o l a t i o n may be one of the causes of the high drop-out r a t e s common i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n . The h y p o t h e s i s of t h i s study was that i n t e r a c t i o n with o t h e r students v i a telephone c o n f e r e n c i n g would decrease the drop-out r a t e , i n c r e a s e student s a t i s f a c t i o n and improve academic performance. Twenty-nine students from a community c o l l e g e i n B r i t i s h Columbia were i n v o l v e d in the study. They completed a q u e s t i o n n a i r e measuring the p e r s o n a l i t y c o n s t r u c t s "need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n " , "need f o r achievement" and "need f o r autonomy". They were randomly a s s i g n e d to e i t h e r the treatment or c o n t r o l group. Members of the treatment group p a r t i c i p a t e d i n telephone c o n f e r e n c e s with the course i n s t r u c t o r and thre e or four other s t u d e n t s . Members of the c o n t r o l group r e c e i v e d only i n d i v i d u a l telephone c a l l s from the i n s t r u c t o r . The completion r a t e s of the two groups, i i i measures of s a t i s f a c t i o n and marks were compared. Only 2 of the 15 students in the treatment group dropped out while 7 of the 14 students i n the c o n t r o l group f a i l e d t o complete the course. The c h i square with one degree of freedom was 4.55 s i g n i f i c a n t at the .03 l e v e l . A Yates c o r r e c t i o n for c o n t i n u i t y of curve, which was a p p l i e d because of the smal l numbers, lowered the s i g n i f i c a n c e to .08. D i f f e r e n c e s i n measures of student s a t i s f a c t i o n were not s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t . For a l l students t h e r e was a moderate c o r r e l a t i o n between student achievement as measured by marks and need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n , r=-.38, p=.10. However, when the c o r r e l a t i o n was computed f o r the treatment group only, r was -.11, p=.72, but f o r the c o n t r o l group o n l y , the c o r r e l a t i o n was r=-.70, p=.08. T h i s suggests t h a t f o r the treatment group s t u d e n t - t o - s t u d e n t i n t e r a c t i o n may have moderated the e f f e c t of the students' need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n on student performance. The r e s u l t s i n d i c a t e that s t u d e n t - t o - s t u d e n t i n t e r a c t i o n may be b e n e f i c i a l to students i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n c o u r s e s and that need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n may pla y a r o l e i n student s u c c e s s . F u r t h e r study i s recommended. TABLE OF CONTENTS i v A b s t r a c t i i Chapter I: I n t r o d u c t i o n 1 The Problem 1 D e f i n i t i o n s 3 Purpose of the Study 4 Chapter I I : Review of R e l a t e d Research and Theory ...5 Distanc e E d u c a t i o n 5 O r i g i n s and development 5 D i s t a n c e education i n B r i t i s h Columbia 9 C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n 11 Media used i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n ....13 St r e n g t h s and weaknesses of d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n 14 Drop-out 16 Drop-out i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n 18 C a l c u l a t i n g drop-out r a t e s 1 9 Causes of drop-out i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n 21 P r e v e n t i n g drop-out i n d i s t a n c e educat ion 24 Need f o r A f f i l i a t i o n 27 O r i g i n s 28 Measuring need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n 28 V Research r e l a t i n g t o need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n 29 Need for a f f i l i a t i o n i n e d u c a t i o n a l s e t t i n g s 29 Chapter I I I : O b j e c t i v e s of the Study and Hypotheses 34 O b j e c t i v e s of the Study 34 Hypotheses 34 Chapter IV: Design and Methodology of the Study ....36 Research Design 36 The S u b j e c t s 36 C o n t r o l 38 Treatment 38 M a t e r i a l s '. 39 I n i t i a l q u e s t i o n n a i r e 39 F i n a l q u e s t i o n n a i r e 40 Other Information Obtained 41 Scoring and Item A n a l y s i s 41 S t a t i s t i c a l t e s t s 42 Chapter V: R e s u l t s of the Experiment 44 S t a t i s t i c a l A n a l y s i s of R e s u l t s 44 Drop-out r a t e 44 Student s a t i s f a c t i o n 44 Student achievement 45 Need for a f f i l i a t i o n 46 F a c t o r s which might have a f f e c t e d the study 48 v i Comparison of sample with p o p u l a t i o n norms 48 D i s c u s s i o n of R e s u l t s 49 Drop-out rate 49 Student s a t i s f a c t i o n 50 Student performance 52 The r o l e of need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n ....52 G e n e r a l i z a t i o n of r e s u l t s 54 Chapter VI: Summary, Conclus i o n s and Recommendations 55 Summary 55 Con c l u s i o n s 63 Recommendations 64 B i b l i o g r a p h y 66 Appendix A: I n i t i a l q u e s t i o n n a i r e 72 APPENDIX B: F i n a l q u e s t i o n n a i r e 76 APPENDIX C: Data C o l l e c t e d from S u b j e c t s 80 LIST OF TABLES TABLE ONE--CORRELATIONS BETWEEN VARIABLES v i i i Acknowledgements I wish to express my a p p r e c i a t i o n to my t h e s i s a d v i s o r Dr. Lome Koroluk who spent many hours going over the m a t e r i a l i n t h i s study. I would a l s o l i k e to thank Dr. Steve F o s t e r f o r h i s a s s i s t a n c e with the s t a t i s t i c a l a n a l y s i s . Dr. Pat Montgomery's a d v i c e r e g a r d i n g the l i t e r a t u r e review was very h e l p f u l . Thanks must a l s o be extended to Dr. Mi c h a e l C a t c h p o l e f o r h i s a s s i s t a n c e . Without h i s c o - o p e r a t i o n and the support of North I s l a n d Community C o l l e g e t h i s study c o u l d not have been c a r r i e d out. 1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION The Problem T r a d i t i o n a l l y e d u c a t i o n a l programs have been pr o v i d e d to l e a r n e r s gathered at a c e n t r a l l o c a t i o n . As f a r back as 3000 B.C. those wishing to become p r i e s t s or s c r i b e s t r a v e l l e d to the l i b r a r i e s of Egypt and Mesopotamia to study (Shimahara, 1982); Young Greeks came to the c i t i e s to l e a r n under the t u t e l a g e of renowned s c h o l a r s i n the t h i r d and f o u r t h century BC (Marrou, 1982). In the 13th century the f i r s t western u n i v e r s i t i e s emerged as students t r a v e l l e d to European c e n t r e s of l e a r n i n g (Riche, 1982). Today t h i s method in which l e a r n e r s gather together under the d i r e c t i o n of an i n s t r u c t o r remains the primary means of p r o v i d i n g e d u c a t i o n a l programs. However many people with a need or a d e s i r e f o r further, education are unable to p a r t i c i p a t e through t h i s t r a d i t i o n a l method of p r o v i d i n g e d u c a t i o n a l programs at a c e n t r a l l o c a t i o n . They may be unable to at t e n d such c l a s s e s because of f a m i l y and job r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s , l a c k of t r a n s p o r t a t i o n or p h y s i c a l handicaps. Since i t i s not always f e a s i b l e f o r l e a r n e r s to gather at a c e n t r a l l o c a t i o n , other methods of d e l i v e r i n g e d u c a t i o n a l programs which take advantage of modern technology have been developed. E d u c a t i o n a l 2 programs are now pr o v i d e d to l e a r n e r s throughout the world by m a i l , by telephone l i n e and by s a t e l l i t e , r a d i o or t e l e v i s i o n broadcast or by a combination of these. T h i s a l t e r n a t e method of d e l i v e r i n g e d u c a t i o n a l programs i s commonly r e f e r r e d to as " d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n " . D i s t a n c e education has not r e p l a c e d the t r a d i t i o n a l community of l e a r n e r s meeting under the d i r e c t s u p e r v i s i o n of t h e i r t e a c h e r . Instead, i t has been used, i n most cases, to p r o v i d e o p p o r t u n i t i e s to new groups of l e a r n e r s ; those who f o r geographic, economic or p e r s o n a l reasons are unable to t r a v e l to an e d u c a t i o n a l i n s t i t u t i o n to p a r t i c i p a t e i n c l a s s e s (Purdy, 1983). One of the major uses of d i s t a n c e education has been to provide a d u l t s with c o n t i n u i n g o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r l e a r n i n g . A d u l t s , f o r the most p a r t , p a r t i c i p a t e i n e d u c a t i o n a l programs on a v o l u n t a r y b a s i s . T h e i r m o t i v a t i o n t o l e a r n must be str o n g enough to overcome such o b s t a c l e s as l a c k of time, the d i s t r a c t i o n s of fa m i l y or job problems, l i m i t e d e d u c a t i o n a l backgrounds, and l a c k of recent study e x p e r i e n c e . An a d d i t i o n a l problem f o r some i n d i v i d u a l s i s that independent study may not meet t h e i r e d u c a t i o n a l and per s o n a l needs. As a r e s u l t h i g h drop-out r a t e s are c h a r a c t e r i s t i c i n many d i s t a n c e education programs. 3 Houle (1973) noted that many- distance^ education students may not be: g i f t e d i n independent, p r i n t - o r i e n t e d l e a r n i n g . They need the s t i m u l a t i o n of a mentor or group of like-minded people who w i l l c h a l l e n g e but not o v e r - a s s i s t them. (p. 148) In many d i s t a n c e education programs students work alone and are o f t e n never or only r a r e l y i n con t a c t with each other. For students who need p e r s o n a l i n t e r a c t i o n , the lack of such o p p o r t u n i t i e s may be d e t r i m e n t a l to t h e i r p r o g r e s s . They may be high r i s k s f o r dropping out f o r m o t i v a t i o n a l rather than academic reasons. D e f i n i t i o n s Holmberg (1977) has p r o v i d e d t h i s d e f i n i t i o n of " d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n " : The term d i s t a n c e education . . . covers the v a r i o u s forms of study at a l l l e v e l s which are not under the continuous, immediate s u p e r v i s i o n of t u t o r s present with t h e i r students i n l e c t u r e rooms or i n the same premises but who n e v e r t h e l e s s , b e n e f i t from the pl a n n i n g , guidance and t u i t i o n of a t u t o r i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n . (p. 9) One of the major concerns of d i s t a n c e educators has been the l e v e l of drop-out i n d i s t a n c e education programs. "Drop-out" has been d e f i n e d as "the p r o p o r t i o n of students who e n r o l f o r a course but withdraw before the f i n a l examination or t e s t " ( G l a t t e r & Wedell, 1971, 4 p. 1 1 ) . In t h i s study students were c o n s i d e r e d to have dropped out i f they r e g i s t e r e d but f a i l e d t o complete the course. Formal withdrawal was not necessary. One p o s s i b l e reason f o r drop-out i n d i s t a n c e education programs i s the lack of o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r students to a f f i l i a t e with each other. "Need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n " has been d e f i n e d as "a d e s i r e to . e s t a b l i s h and/or maintain warm and f r i e n d l y i n t e r p e r s o n a l r e l a t i o n s " (French & Chadwick, 1956, p. 296). This c o n s t r u c t can be measured through a v a r i e t y of t e s t s and scores can be obtained which rate i n d i v i d u a l s as to t h e i r l e v e l of need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n . Purpose of the Study The purpose of t h i s study i s to f i n d out i f p r o v i d i n g an o p p o r t u n i t y f o r i n t e r a c t i o n among students would a f f e c t the drop-out r a t e , the p e r c e i v e d s a t i s f a c t i o n , and academic performance of students in a d i s t a n c e education course. 5 CHAPTER II REVIEW OF RELATED RESEARCH AND THEORY Dis t a n c e Education O r i g i n s and development. What we r e f e r to today as d i s t a n c e education began as correspondence education in which lessons were sent through the m a i l to students who completed assignments and mailed them back to t u t o r s . One of the e a r l y examples of d i s t a n c e education i n v o l v e d Isaac Pitman who, i n the 1840's i n England, sent h i s i n s t r u c t i o n s i n shorthand by p o s t c a r d to students (Holmberg, 1977). E l l i o t (1978) d e s c r i b e d how students from 1858 onwards c o u l d o b t a i n c r e d i t s from London U n i v e r s i t y simply by s i t t i n g f o r examinations. Many of these students l e a r n e d from p r i v a t e t u t o r s who sent them l e s s o n s through the m a i l . By 1887 the U n i v e r s i t y Correspondence C o l l e g e at Cambridge was e s t a b l i s h e d to prepare s t u d e n t s f o r the London U n i v e r s i t y exams. T h i s correspondence school, was i n c o r p o r a t e d with the N a t i o n a l E x t e n s i o n C o l l e g e i n B r i t a i n i n 1964. The U n i v e r s i t y of Chicago o f f e r e d the f i r s t u n i v e r s i t y sponsored correspondence programs i n the U n i t e d States beginning i n 1891 ( E d u c a t i o n a l Research I n s t i t u t e of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1982). In Canada, correspondence study was f i r s t p r o v i d e d by Queens U n i v e r s i t y i n 1899 (Selman, 1966). Although p r i n t has continued to be a s t a p l e of d i s t a n c e education courses, r a d i o has been used i n 6 education i n a number of c o u n t r i e s . The BBC's school s e r v i c e was launched i n 1924 ( C a t h c a r t , 1978). A u s t r a l i a has p r o v i d e d r a d i o broadcasts to elementary and secondary students l i v i n g i n i s o l a t e d areas s i n c e 1932 (MacKenzie, Postgate & Scupham, 1975). In the 1940's the Canadian B r o a d c a s t i n g C o r p o r a t i o n produced r a d i o farm forums and p r o v i d e d pamphlets to accompany these programs (Perraton, 1980). The U n i v e r s i t y of Wisconsin began e d u c a t i o n a l r a d i o broadcasts in 1917. The CBS American School of the A i r ran from 1930 to 1940 (Purdy, 1983). Accion C u l t u r a l Popular (ACPO) was e s t a b l i s h e d i n 1947 i n Colombia. A l o c a l p r i e s t , Father Salcedo, used r a d i o to keep i n touch with h i s p a r i s h i o n e r s . He went on to p r i n t b o o k l e t s to support the broadcasts and to c r e a t e a network of l o c a l c o - o r d i n a t o r s . Today ACPO i s one of the l a r g e s t e d u c a t i o n a l p u b l i s h e r s i n Colombia and s t i l l uses, broadcasts and l o c a l c o - o r d i n a t o r s ( P e r r a t o n , 1980). Many of the f i r s t e d u c a t i o n a l uses of the broadcast media were designed to meet the needs of elementary and secondary s c h o o l s t u d e n t s . T e l e v i s i o n s e r v i c e s f o r schools were e s t a b l i s h e d i n France i n 1951, i n B r i t a i n i n 1957 and i n I t a l y i n 1958 ( C a t h c a r t , 1978). In the U n i t e d S t a t e s the Midwest Program of A i r b o r n e T e l e v i s i o n broadcast programs to elementary and secondary s c h o o l s i n 1959 from an 7 a i r p l a n e c i r c l i n g over northern Indiana ( C a t h c a r t , 1978). Because t e l e v i s i o n was seen as a s u p e r f i c i a l medium by many, use of t h i s new technology was g e n e r a l l y met with s c e p t i c i s m by the e d u c a t i o n a l community. As a r e s u l t e d u c a t i o n a l programming f o r use in elementary and secondary schools tended to be underfunded and u n d e r u t i l i z e d ( C a t h c a r t , 1978). Programming f o r a d u l t s tended to be b e t t e r r e c e i v e d . Among the examples of the e a r l i e s t programming f o r a d u l t s are the o f f e r i n g s of the U n i v e r s i t y Of Iowa, beginning i n 1933 and c r e d i t e d with being the f i r s t e d u c a t i o n a l t e l e v i s i o n b r o a d c a s t s ; the f i r s t non-commercial s t a t i o n , KUHT, on the a i r i n 1953 in Houston; the Chicago TV C o l l e g e which began broadcasts i n 1956; and Sunris e Semester which began b r o a d c a s t i n g i n 1957 and i s s t i l l running on CBS today (Purdy, 1983). In the 1960's the. p r o v i n c i a l government i n Quebec developed a program c a l l e d TEVEC. T h i s i n v o l v e d a s e r i e s of t e l e v i s i o n programs which were teamed with a p r i n t component and l o c a l d i s c u s s i o n groups. TEVEC was designed to enable a d u l t s to o b t a i n n i n t h grade e q u i v a l e n c y and to teach them how to use community resources to e f f e c t s o c i a l change (Perrat o n , 1980). Programs such as TEVEC which used a v a r i e t y of components tended to be more s u c c e s s f u l than those that depended on t e l e v i s i o n alone ( P e r r a t o n , 1983). 8 Cathcart (1978) commented that by the 1970'S ! e d u c a t i o n a l b r o a d c a s t e r s had begun to assess the p o t e n t i a l of t e l e v i s i o n more r e a l i s t i c a l l y . I t was seen as j u s t one medium a v a i l a b l e f o r education and one which should be used i n c o n j u n c t i o n with other media. Educators a l s o became aware that although i n s t r u c t i o n a l design was important, there needed to be more emphasis placed on the needs of d i s t a n c e l e a r n e r s f o r support and advice (Sewart, 1983). In the 1970's i n s t i t u t i o n s which were i n v o l v e d i n d i s t a n c e education tended to take a multi-media approach and to b u i l d i n a v a r i e t y of avenues through which a student who was e x p e r i e n c i n g d i f f i c u l t y c o u l d r e c e i v e support. One of the f i r s t i n s t i t u t i o n s to take these two f a c t o r s i n t o account was B r i t a i n ' s Open U n i v e r s i t y which was c r e a t e d i n 1969 and which be.gan e n r o l l i n g , students i n 1971. I t now e n r o l l s over 80,000 students throughout the United Kingdom and i s the l a r g e s t degree g r a n t i n g i n s t i t u t i o n i n that country (Waters, 1983). Purdy (1983) has d e s c r i b e d s i m i l a r i n s t i t u t i o n s which were e s t a b l i s h e d i n the U n i t e d S t a t e s . In 1971 the S t a t e U n i v e r s i t y of Nebraska (SUN) began to p r o v i d e d i s t a n c e u n i v e r s i t y courses using t e l e v i s i o n , r a d i o and p r i n t . In 1974 SUN became pa r t of a consortium of midwestern u n i v e r s i t i e s known as the U n i v e r s i t y of Mid 9 America (UMA) . The UMA develops d i s t a n c e education-courses which are o f f e r e d by the member i n s t i t u t i o n s . Miami Dade Community C o l l e g e i n F l o r i d a and Coast Community C o l l e g e i n C a l i f o r n i a began to p r o v i d e d i s t a n c e education o p p o r t u n i t i e s i n 1974. In a number of c o u n t r i e s e d u c a t i o n a l r a d i o and t e l e v i s i o n programs are broadcast v i a s a t e l l i t e . The E d u c a t i o n a l Research I n s t i t u t e of B.C. (ERIBC) has reviewed a number of d i s t a n c e education systems that use s a t e l l i t e s . The U n i v e r s i t y of the South P a c i f i c , a consortium of 11 n a t i o n s i n the southern P a c i f i c area has been d e l i v e r i n g e d u c a t i o n a l programs s i n c e 1974. S a t e l l i t e s have been used s u c c e s s f u l l y i n I n d i a to d e l i v e r e d u c a t i o n a l programming d e a l i n g with a g r i c u l t u r e , h e a l t h and f a m i l y p l a n n i n g (ERIBC, 1982). Distanc e education i n B r i t i s h Columbia. Much of B r i t i s h Columbia's p o p u l a t i o n i s s c a t t e r e d , throughout v a s t , r e l a t i v e l y undeveloped r u r a l a r e a s . The need to p r o v i d e d i s t a n c e education s e r v i c e s to students who c o u l d not t r a v e l to schools was r e c o g n i z e d by the p r o v i n c i a l M i n i s t r y of Education i n 1919 when correspondence courses were made a v a i l a b l e to students at the elementary school l e v e l (ERIBC, 1982). The s e r v i c e was expanded to secondary s c h o o l students i n 1929 (ERIBC, 1982). The f i r s t o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r post-secondary education i n a d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n format 10 were o f f e r e d by the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia in 1949 through the Guided Independent Study d i v i s i o n (ERIBC, 1982). The u n i v e r s i t y began experimental uses of t e l e v i s i o n v i a l o c a l cable channels i n the l a t e 1960's and e a r l y 1970's (Rosen, 1984). The Macdonald Report of 1962 c a l l e d a t t e n t i o n to the need for more post-secondary o p p o r t u n i t i e s i n the p r o v i n c e f o r people i n o u t l y i n g g e o g r a p h i c a l areas (ERIBC, 1982). F u r t h e r higher>education i n s t i t u t i o n s -were e s t a b l i s h e d i n c l u d i n g the U n i v e r s i t y of V i c t o r i a and Simon Fraser U n i v e r s i t y as w e l l as a number of two-year community c o l l e g e s . The D i r e c t e d Independent Study Course (DISC) Program o f f e r e d the f i r s t d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n courses at Simon F r a s e r U n i v e r s i t y i n 1975 and the U n i v e r s i t y of V i c t o r i a E x t e n s i o n D i v i s i o n began o f f e r i n g d i s t a n c e education courses i n 1982 (Yerbury, 1985). In 1976 the p r o v i n c e began to develop the framework for a system of d i s t a n c e education which would i n v o l v e e x i s t i n g i n s t i t u t i o n s and c r e a t e some new ones (ERIBC, 1982). Today most post-secondary i n s t i t u t i o n s i n the p r o v i n c e have an outreach department which p r o v i d e s e d u c a t i o n a l programs to students at a d i s t a n c e . One i n s t i t u t i o n , c a t e r i n g only to d i s t a n c e education students, The Open Lea r n i n g I n s t i t u t e (OLI), was founded by the p r o v i n c i a l M i n i s t r y 11 of E d u c a t i o n i n 1978 (ERIBC, 1982). I t p r o v i d e s u n i v e r s i t y , t e c h n i c a l and a d u l t b a s i c education courses mainly through correspondence m a t e r i a l s . To f a c i l i t a t e these outreach programs the Knowledge Network was e s t a b l i s h e d by the M i n i s t r y of E d u c a t i o n i n 1980 (ERIBC, 1982). I t operates a s a t e l l i t e broadcast channel over which the t e l e v i s e d segments of courses o f f e r e d by p r o v i n c i a l u n i v e r s i t i e s , c o l l e g e s , the Open U n i v e r s i t y and a v a r i e t y of other i n s t i t u t i o n s are a i r e d . I t a l s o p r o v i d e s general i n t e r e s t programming of a b r o a d l y e d u c a t i o n a l nature. In 1984 the Open U n i v e r s i t y Consortium was formed to c o - o r d i n a t e and promote u n i v e r s i t y - l e v e l d i s t a n c e education courses. I t i n c l u d e s a l l three p r o v i n c i a l u n i v e r s i t i e s , the Open Learning I n s t i t u t e and the Knowledge Network. One of the r o l e s of the consortium i s to ensure that u n i v e r s i t y c r e d i t s , earned through classroom and d i s t a n c e study can be combined to form the b a s i s of a u n i v e r s i t y degree from the Open Lea r n i n g I n s t i t u t e (Yerbury, 1985). C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n . According to Keegan (1980) there are s i x c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of d i s t a n c e education programs which d i s t i n g u i s h them from t r a d i t i o n a l programs. These a r e : the teacher and l e a r n e r are separated; there i s a c u r r i c u l u m organized by an i n s t i t u t i o n a v a i l a b l e t o the l e a r n e r which i s not 1 2 the case when the l e a r n e r is> i n v o l v e d i n i n f o r m a l p r i v a t e l e a r n i n g ; t e c h n i c a l media such as p r i n t or t e l e v i s i o n u n i t e the teacher and l e a r n e r ; there i s i n t e r a c t i v e communication between l e a r n e r and teacher which d i s t i n g u i s h e s d i s t a n c e education from other forms of e d u c a t i o n a l technology; students are taught f o r the most part as i n d i v i d u a l s r a t h e r than in groups; and there i s an i n d u s t r i a l aspect i n that course components can be manufactured i n l a r g e numbers and pro v i d e d to a mass audience. Keegan (1982) c l a s s i f i e d d i s t a n c e education programs using four c a t e g o r i e s . In the correspondence model the l e a r n e r depends almost e n t i r e l y upon p o s t a l c o n t a c t with the i n s t i t u t i o n . The multi-media system o f f e r s a wide range of media, i n c l u d i n g i n some cases, f a c e - t o - f a c e i n t e r a c t i o n . The c o n s u l t a t i v e model i n v o l v e s attendance at seminars as well, as the use of. s e l f - i n s t r u c t i o n a l m a t e r i a l s at home. With the i n t e g r a t e d model d i s t a n c e l e a r n e r s are taught by the same s t a f f and f o l l o w the same schedule as l e a r n e r s who are t a k i n g courses on campus. Holmberg (1981) o u t l i n e d these aspects of d i s t a n c e education c o u r s e s : the courses are normally media-based and designed t o be l a r g e l y s e l f - i n s t r u c t i o n a l ; s i n c e the i n s t r u c t o r and student are separated e f f e c t i v e i n s t r u c t i o n a l design i s c r u c i a l to student success; 13 i d e a l l y there should be systematic step-by—step p l a n n i n g and development of e d u c a t i o n a l measures. T h i s would i n c l u d e d e f i n i n g g o als and o b j e c t i v e s ; a n a l y s i n g t a r g e t groups; determining the content and s t r u c t u r e of the course; developing o r g a n i z a t i o n a l and a d m i n i s t r a t i v e supports; choosing communications media; p l a n n i n g f o r i n t e r a c t i o n between i n s t r u c t o r and student; producing the course m a t e r i a l s ; e v a l u a t i n g the co u r s e ; and r e v i s i n g the above as r e q u i r e d . Media used i n d i s t a n c e education. One of the major d i f f e r e n c e s between t r a d i t i o n a l methods of ed u c a t i o n and d i s t a n c e education i s the use of media f o r much of the communication between the i n s t r u c t o r and the student. Of course media i s used i n the cl a s s r o o m as w e l l and many d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n programs do p r o v i d e some o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r the students to meet. At the Open U n i v e r s i t y i n B r i t a i n , about 80.% of the t e a c h i n g occurs through the p r i n t media, 10% through r a d i o or t e l e v i s i o n b r o a d c a s t i n g and 10% through seminars and summer s c h o o l s (Keegan, 1983). Keegan noted that p r i n t i s the primary media used i n most d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n programs although many a l s o i n v o l v e audio, video, computers and k i t s . P r i n t media i n c l u d e s books, manuals and courses o f f e r e d v i a the newspaper. Audio i n c l u d e s r a d i o , audio c a s s e t t e s and telephone c o n f e r e n c i n g . Video i n c l u d e s 1 4 t e l e v i s i o n broadcasts, c a b l e t e l e v i s i o n , video c a s s e t t e s and, although they are used to a l e s s e r extent, v i d e o d i s c , v i d e o t e x t and slow scan t e l e v i s i o n . E d u c a t i o n a l t e l e v i s i o n and r a d i o b r o a d c a s t i n g o f t e n i n v o l v e s the use of s a t e l l i t e . The use of computer a s s i s t e d i n s t r u c t i o n i n d i s t a n c e education programs i s i n c r e a s i n g . In some programs k i t s which may i n c l u d e samples, specimens, s p e c i a l equipment, s l i d e s , models or games are sent to the students. Assignments play a dual r o l e i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n . They provide an o p p o r t u n i t y f o r a c t i v e learning,, that i s f o r a c t i v i t i e s which go beyond . reading, watching or l i s t e n i n g , and they p r o v i d e an o p p o r t u n i t y f o r feedback from the i n s t r u c t o r ( P e r r a t o n , 1983). In d i s t a n c e education most of the communication between i n s t r u c t o r and student i s based on assignments and c o n s i s t s of w r i t t e n comments and advice a t t a c h e d to and r e t u r n e d with the assignment through the m a i l (Holmberg, 1981). However the telephone i s becoming i n c r e a s i n g l y important i n i n s t r u c t o r - s t u d e n t communication. Strengths and weaknesses of d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n . There are a number of advantages to d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n . For students who cannot at t e n d an e d u c a t i o n a l i n s t i t u t i o n i t p r o v i d e s an o p p o r t u n i t y to l e a r n and to gain c r e d i t s . A student can study at the l o c a t i o n , 15 time and pace which i s most convenient. Because the course content i s presented through media c o n s i d e r a b l e p l a n n i n g u s u a l l y goes i n t o the course design and d e l i v e r y structure.; i t i s p o s s i b l e for students to have access to top subject s p e c i a l i s t s and educators a v a i l a b l e through p r i n t , t e l e v i s i o n programs, audio tapes and other media (Holmberg, 1981). There are a l s o disadvantages. When a student f a i l s to understand m a t e r i a l he may not be r e d i r e c t e d u n t i l assignments are marked and returned by m a i l , a process which may take s e v e r a l weeks. Although most d i s t a n c e l e a r n i n g d e l i v e r y systems provide an o p p o r t u n i t y f o r students to telephone t h e i r i n s t r u c t o r s with q u e s t i o n s some students may be i n t i m i d a t e d by t h i s procedure. I n d i v i d u a l s who are accustomed to d e v e l o p i n g and t e s t i n g t h e i r ideas i n c o n v e r s a t i o n with others w i l l miss the feedback provided, in. groups. (Sewart, 1982). D i f f i c u l t i e s a l s o a r i s e because of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of those most l i k e l y to choose d i s t a n c e education programs. Many are l i k e l y to be p a r t - t i m e students, a d u l t s with f a m i l y and job commitments which may c o n f l i c t with the demands of study. They may be r e t u r n i n g to l e a r n i n g a f t e r a number of years and may lack both confidence and study s k i l l s (Sewart, 1983). 16 Drop-out It can be assumed that most educators w i l l measure t h e i r success i n terms of the number of students who complete a course with a r e l a t i v e l y high l e v e l of mastery. Beyond that they would probably l i k e to see some e x p r e s s i o n of p e r s o n a l s a t i s f a c t i o n on the p a r t of t h e i r s t u d e n t s . F i n a l l y they would l i k e l e a r n i n g to become an important and c o n t i n u i n g part of t h e i r students' l i v e s . When students drop out of courses i n s i g n i f i c a n t l y l a r g e numbers, most educators w i l l want to examine the design of t h e i r programs to determine i f the needs of t h e i r students are being met. It i s d i f f i c u l t t o decide what c o n s t i t u t e s an a c c e p t a b l e l e v e l of drop-out. A review of r e s e a r c h on drop-out i n c o l l e g e s and u n i v e r s i t i e s i n the U n i t e d St a t e s showed that on average, 3 0 % , of, the students who e n r o l l e d f o r undergraduate degrees f a i l e d to complete them (Pantages & Creedon, 1978). Six out of every ten students who e n r o l l e d i n a c o l l e g e or u n i v e r s i t y c o u l d be expected to drop-out d u r i n g t h e i r four-year program. Of these s i x , one would e v e n t u a l l y graduate from the same c o l l e g e and two o t h e r s would e n r o l i n other i n s t i t u t i o n s and o b t a i n t h e i r degrees t h e r e . Pantages and Creedon (1978) i d e n t i f i e d a number of f a c t o r s which r e l a t e d to student drop-out. High school 17 grade p o i n t average i s h i g h l y c o r r e l a t e d with success at c o l l e g e or u n i v e r s i t y . I n a b i l i t y to persevere, unrewarding experiences with the peer group, lack of c l e a r e d u c a t i o n a l or v o c a t i o n a l g o a l s , poor study h a b i t s and f i n a n c i a l problems were a l s o r e l a t e d to drop-out. In h i s review of the l i t e r a t u r e on drop-out T i n t o (1975) argued that drop-out c o u l d be most e a s i l y e x p l a i n e d by examining the l e v e l of i n t e g r a t i o n of the student i n t o the s o c i a l and academic systems of c o l l e g e . Academic i n t e g r a t i o n i n v o l v e d grades, i n t e l l e c t u a l development, p e r c e p t i o n of f a c u l t y concern f o r t e a c h i n g and student development, and i n f o r m a l c o n t a c t s with f a c u l t y concerning academic, i n t e l l e c t u a l and c a r e e r matters. S o c i a l i n t e g r a t i o n i n v o l v e d e x t r a c u r r i c u l a r a c t i v i t i e s , peer group r e l a t i o n s h i p s and i n f o r m a l i n t e r a c t i o n s with f a c u l t y . T i n t o found that students who dropped-out, that i s who withdrew v o l u n t a r i l y as opposed to being f o r c e d to leave as a r e s u l t of poor academic performance, tended o v e r a l l to be of higher a p t i t u d e and i n t e l l e c t u a l development than those who p e r s i s t e d . He suggests that some s t u d i e s may not have d i f f e r e n t i a t e d between v o l u n t a r y and f o r c e d withdrawal of students, a f a c t which may have a f f e c t e d the h i g h negative c o r r e l a t i o n s found between the measured a b i l i t y of students and 18 drop-out. P a s c a r e l l a and T e r e n z i n i (1979) followed up on T i n t o ' s r e s e a r c h with a study which found that students would p e r s i s t even when there was poor i n t e g r a t i o n i n t o one system i f there was high i n t e g r a t i o n i n t o the other system. Of course too much s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n may r e s u l t i n academic d i s m i s s a l but t h i s i s not the same as drop-out i n v o l v i n g v o l u n t a r y withdrawal. Such r e s e a r c h confirms the importance of the s o c i a l system to students. Even when students are gathered together at a c e n t r a l l o c a t i o n there may be d i f f i c u l t y as a r e s u l t of poor s o c i a l i n t e g r a t i o n . In d i s t a n c e education programs where o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r i n t e r a c t i o n with others who are e n r o l l e d i n the course are l i m i t e d or no n - e x i s t e n t , students u s u a l l y must do without the support of a s o c i a l system which i s r e l a t e d to t h e i r e d u c a t i o n a l a c t i v i t i e s . Drop-out i n d i s t a n c e education.. The drop-out rate i n d i s t a n c e education courses i n the past has been a source of f r u s t r a t i o n f o r educators. I t i s g e n e r a l l y agreed to average about 50% (Graham, 1984) although there are wide v a r i a t i o n s i n the r a t e of a t t r i t i o n which may be i n f l u e n c e d by the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of those who e n r o l , the design of the program and the nature of the s u b j e c t matter. McKenzie and C h r i s t e n s e n (1971) d e s c r i b e d p r i v a t e correspondence schools with a drop-out r a t e of 70% i n 19 the U n i ted S t a t e s and up to 90% i n Japan. One should note that that these correspondence schools were e n t i r e l y p r i n t - b a s e d with the only form of communication o c c u r r i n g by l e t t e r . The Open U n i v e r s i t y has been much more s u c c e s s f u l . About 55% of the students who e n r o l are expected to complete a degree (Keegan, 1980). The drop-out r a t e per course averages around 21% (Kennedy & Powell, 1976). The NKI School i n Norway which p r o v i d e s t e c h n i c a l and v o c a t i o n a l degrees has f i g u r e s which show that out of the c o n t i n g e n t of students who e n r o l l e d i n 1972-73, 84.8% had d i s c o n t i n u e d t h e i r s t u d i e s a f t e r two and a h a l f years, 12.2% had completed t h e i r program, and 3.0% were s t i l l a c t i v e (Rekkedal, 1983). The F e r n u n i v e r s i t a t (Distance U n i v e r s i t y ) i n Germany does not give^data on. course performance. Students must complete two courses a year, a f a i r l y heavy load f o r an i n d i v i d u a l who has other r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s . Almost 50% of t h e i r students f a i l to complete t h e i r f i r s t year ( M i l l a r d , 1982). C a l c u l a t i n g drop-out r a t e s . Comparisons between the drop-out r a t e s at d i f f e r e n t i n s t i t u t i o n s are d i f f i c u l t to make si n c e a v a r i e t y of methods are used to c a l c u l a t e drop-out. The correspondence schools i n the U n i ted S t a t e s based t h e i r r a t e on the number of 20 students who r e g i s t e r e d but d i d not complete a course. At the Open U n i v e r s i t y s tudents are given a t r i a l p e r i o d of two and a h a l f months to t r y out t h e i r f i r s t course before they f i n a l l y r e g i s t e r (Keegan, 1980). They have an o p p o r t u n i t y to d e c i d e whether they can manage the academic l e v e l b e f o r e they f i n a l l y r e g i s t e r , pay the f u l l t u i t i o n and are o f f i c i a l l y l i s t e d i n Open U n i v e r s i t y s t a t i s t i c s . About 25% of those who begin f a i l to complete t h e i r r e g i s t r a t i o n which means th a t some of those who might otherwise have appeared i n the drop-out s t a t i s t i c s do not. A study by Woodley and P a r l e t t (1983) noted that Athabasca U n i v e r s i t y i n A l b e r t a uses the term "wastage" which i n c l u d e s both those who drop-out and those who f a i l to pass t h e i r c o urses. T h e i r wastage r a t e i s 71% of the students who r e g i s t e r . T h i s drops to 42% i f the base i s taken to be those s t u d e n t s who submitted the f i r s t assignment. The Open Learning I n s t i t u t e i n B r i t i s h Columbia quoted a 32% wastage r a t e f o r the summer semester of 1982. T h i s f i g u r e i s based o n l y on those students who completed t h e i r f i r s t assignment (Woodley & P a r l e t t , 1983). The argument f o r u s i n g o n l y those students who completed the f i r s t assignment i s that o f t e n students who have r e g i s t e r e d f o r a course never a c t u a l l y begin. Instead they f i n d other c o u r s e s which are b e t t e r s u i t e d 21 to t h e i r requirements or they choose a c t i v i t i e s other than l e a r n i n g to f i l l t h e i r time. However i t can a l s o be argued that students who pay fees and who f a i l to withdraw and seek refunds began with some i n i t i a l committment to the course but l o s t t h e i r m o t i v a t i o n e a r l y on. Baath (1982) notes that s t r a t e g i e s aimed at g e t t i n g students s t a r t e d should be i n c o r p o r a t e d i n t o d i s t a n c e education programs. In any case there i s u s u a l l y no way of determining whether students who r e g i s t e r but who never send i n t h e i r f i r s t assignments f a i l to do so because they have found other a c t i v i t i e s or because there i s something about the study s i t u a t i o n which discourages them. For the purposes of t h i s study any student who r e g i s t e r e d but who f a i l e d to complete the course and r e c e i v e a f i n a l mark was deemed a drop-out. Causes of drop-out i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n . Q u e s t i o n n a i r e s aimed at p i n p o i n t i n g the causes of drop-out have i d e n t i f i e d a number of f a c t o r s which det e r students from completing courses. Complaints about i s o l a t i o n and l a c k of c o n t a c t with other students occur r e g u l a r l y . The m a j o r i t y of students who dropped out of a t h i r d year math course at the Open U n i v e r s i t y gave job or domestic p r e s s u r e s as the reason f o r f a i l i n g to complete the course (Phythian & Clements, 1983). 22 However a f r e e response s e c t i o n which was not analysed i n d i c a t e d there were a d d i t i o n a l reasons i n many cases. Many of the students r e p o r t e d that they found i t d i f f i c u l t to deal with a sense of being alone and on t h e i r own. They commented on the lack of other students i n t h e i r area who were t a k i n g the course. Some mentioned that a f t e r three to f i v e years of part - t i m e study t h e i r energy l e v e l had waned. Others complained about the i n c r e a s e d d i f f i c u l t y of the t h i r d l e v e l course. The authors suggested that because the reasons f o r dropping out are u s u a l l y f a i r l y complex, m u l t i p l e c h o i c e q u e s t i o n n a i r e s may o f t e n f a i l to a c c u r a t e l y p o r t r a y the reasons f o r f a i l i n g to continue with a course. At the NKI School i n Norway, a p r e l i m i n a r y q u e s t i o n n a i r e i n d i c a t e d t hat e x t e r n a l f a c t o r s such as lack of time due to f a m i l y or job requirements w,er.e,„the primary reasons f o r dropping out. However more probing q u e s t i o n n a i r e s and i n t e r v i e w s suggested that there were u s u a l l y study r e l a t e d problems as w e l l (Rekkedal, 1983). In another study of d i s t a n c e education students i n B r i t a i n , problems c i t e d were inadequate time, d i f f i c u l t y with the m u l t i - d i s c i p l i n a r y p e r s p e c t i v e s of t h e i r c ourses, i s o l a t i o n , lack of m o t i v a t i o n and a n x i e t y and u n c e r t a i n t y r e g a r d i n g t h e i r l e a r n i n g 23 a b i l i t i e s ( B r o o k f i e l d , 19&2K Woodley and P a r l e t t (1983) i n t h e i r review of drop-out i n the Open U n i v e r s i t y suggested that course completion depends on the balance between a number of f a c t o r s which push the student towards h i s goal or p u l l him away. Push f a c t o r s might i n c l u d e the need f o r a degree i n order to get a promotion; wanting to f i n i s h something that has been s t a r t e d ; a strong i n t e r e s t i n the s u b j e c t matter; or an encouraging spouse. P u l l f a c t o r s would i n c l u d e wanting to spend more time with the f a m i l y ; f i n d i n g the course d i f f i c u l t ; d i s l i k e of the course t u t o r ; and the a v a i l a b i l i t y of a s i m i l a r course i n a classroom s i t u a t i o n where i n t e r a c t i o n with other students was p o s s i b l e . They noted i n t h e i r review: What the u n i v e r s i t y seems to r e q u i r e i s a set of i n i t i a t i v e s which are r e l a t i v e l y cheap, p r a c t i c a l and humanitarian and which are aimed at improving the r a t i o of "push" to " p u l l " f a c t o r s f o r i t s students. (p.23) Many of the f a c t o r s that c o n t r i b u t e to drop-out i n d i s t a n c e education programs a l s o a f f e c t students who are l e a r n i n g i n a more t r a d i t i o n a l s e t t i n g . However there are major d i f f e r e n c e s . A d i s t a n c e education student i s u s u a l l y an a d u l t who i s studying on a p a r t - t i m e b a s i s and who o f t e n has other committments which may take p r i o r i t y over study. A student who i s i n v o l v e d i n earning e d u c a t i o n a l c r e d i t s through 24 classroom education i s more l i k e l y to be f u l l - t i m e l e a r n e r whose primary occupation i n l i f e i s l e a r n i n g . There i s l i t t l e that the d i s t a n c e educator can do to change t h i s s i t u a t i o n . Another major d i f f e r e n c e between students l e a r n i n g i n a group at a c e n t r a l l o c a t i o n and those who are i n v o l v e d i n d i s t a n c e education i s the s o c i a l system. Students who a t t e n d c l a s s e s u s u a l l y have an o p p o r t u n i t y to meet other students. Students who study independently at home, u s u a l l y do not. T h i s does not mean that the students' needs f o r i n t e r p e r s o n a l i n t e r a c t i o n w i l l always be met in the classroom s e t t i n g . T i n t o ' s (1975) r e s e a r c h suggests that t h i s not always the case. However students who do a t t e n d an i n s t i t u t i o n have o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r a f f i l i a t i o n which are o f t e n non-existent or very l i m i t e d f o r d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n students. T h i s i s an area which can be addressed by educators who are developing d i s t a n c e education programs. Pr e v e n t i n g drop-out i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n . While r e s e a r c h e r s at the Open U n i v e r s i t y may not be s a t i s f i e d with t h e i r completion r a t e , t h i s i n s t i t u t i o n has been among the most s u c c e s s f u l i n l i m i t i n g drop-out. A number of d i s t a n c e educators b e l i e v e that p r o v i d i n g students with o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r i n t e r a c t i o n may be one key to such success ( D a n i e l & Marquis, 1980; Keegan, 25 '1980). The Open U n i v e r s i t y spends roughly a q u a r t e r of the t o t a l budget on student support s e r v i c e s which are designed to combat the f e e l i n g s of i s o l a t i o n which may be experienced by d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n students (MacKenzie, Postgate, & Scupham, 1975). These s e r v i c e s i n c l u d e the o p e r a t i o n of some 250 l o c a l study c e n t r e s where students can meet with the t u t o r i n d i v i d u a l l y or in small group d i s c u s s i o n . As w e l l , week-long r e s i d e n t i a l s e s s i o n s are h e l d at l o c a l u n i v e r s i t i e s every summer. Summer school p r o v i d e s more than academic b e n e f i t s such as l i b r a r i e s , l a b o r a t o r i e s and t u t o r i n g . S i r Walter Perry, the f i r s t v i c e - c h a n c e l l o r of the Open U n i v e r s i t y , noted t h a t perhaps the g r e a t e s t b e n e f i t i s that the summer sc h o o l s enable students to get to know each other and to exchange views and experiences (Perry, 1975). In the f u t u r e the amount of f a c e - t o - f a c e t u t o r i a l support a v a i l a b l e to an i n d i v i d u a l student at the Open U n i v e r s i t y i s expected to decrease. Sewart (1983) pointed-out that i n post foundation courses there were, on average, only two students per study c e n t r e . I t was too c o s t l y to provide a t u t o r f o r each course at each study c e n t r e . In the l e s s s e t t l e d areas the study c e n t r e might be too f a r away f o r easy access i n any case. To deal with t h i s problem the Open U n i v e r s i t y has been p r o v i d i n g t u t o r i a l support by telephone on a 26 one-to-one b a s i s and through conference c a l l s (Robinson, 1981). Both t u t o r i a l s at the study c e n t r e s and the telephone s e s s i o n s are o p t i o n a l . The Open U n i v e r s i t y i s not the only d i s t a n c e education i n s t i t u t i o n to use the telephone as a means of p r o v i d i n g support to students. Since 1972 the correspondence branch of Queen's U n i v e r s i t y i n O n t a r i o has d e a l t with student problems v i a the telephone (Orton, 1978). O r i g i n a l l y both i n d i v i d u a l and conference telephone c a l l s were used. Although the conference c a l l s were popular with the students they were d i s c o n t i n u e d because of the expense. In a d d i t i o n to the c o s t of a telephone bridge to l i n k a group of students with the i n t r u c t o r , there were higher long d i s t a n c e charges s i n c e the students spent more time on the telephone, l i s t e n i n g as the q u e s t i o n s of other students wer.e; d i s c u s s e d . Graham. ( 1 984.) r e p o r t e d that roughly 30 u n i v e r s i t i e s and c o l l e g e s i n Canada have used t e l e c o n f e r e n c i n g i n d i s t a n c e education programs and that the a t t r i t i o n r a t e i n d i s t a n c e education appears to be lower when t e l e c o n f e r e n c i n g i s used. Another s o l u t i o n to the problem of i s o l a t i o n and d e c l i n i n g t u t o r i a l support has been to encourage students to form independent study groups and to support each other (Whitlock, 1975). B a i l e y (1983) noted that negative f e e l i n g s which are o f t e n a prelude 27 to dropping out i n a d i s t a n c e l e a r n i n g s i t u a t i o n , may be expressed or assuaged i n such groups. Students i n such independent study groups were able to d i s c u s s assignments and examination outcomes. They o f t e n c o n t a c t e d each other o u t s i d e of these meetings to d i s c u s s course m a t e r i a l . S e l f - h e l p groups are a l s o used at U n i v e r s i t y of New England i n A u s t r a l i a . At the beginning of a course, a l i s t of nearby students i s sent to each student. Where p o s s i b l e the l o c a l d i s c u s s i o n groups a r e - l e d by graduates of the u n i v e r s i t y l i v i n g i n t hat area ( M i l l s , 1978). Although there appear to be no formal s t u d i e s a v a i l a b l e i n which the e f f e c t of s e l f - h e l p groups i s i s o l a t e d and e v a l u a t e d s t a t i s t i c a l l y , educators who have been i n v o l v e d i n courses where such groups e x i s t e d found them of b e n e f i t . They provided, an o p p o r t u n i t y f o r the students to a f f i l i a t e with o t h e r s . Need f o r A f f i l i a t i o n S t u d i e s of d i s t a n c e education programs show that while many students choose t h i s form of study because they p r e f e r to work independently, others e n r o l l simply because i t i s the only e d u c a t i o n a l o p p o r t u n i t y a v a i l a b l e to them (Holmberg, 1981). They might p r e f e r to l e a r n i n a more i n t e r a c t i v e s i t u a t i o n but they do 28 not have that o p t i o n . A p e r s o n a l i t y c o n s t r u c t which might be used to d i f f e r e n t i a t e between those who p r e f e r independent study and those who would r a t h e r study i n the company of other people i s "need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n " . O r i g i n s . T h i s c o n s t r u c t was o r i g i n a l l y c o n c e i v e d by Henry Murray who viewed p e r s o n a l i t y as a h i e r a r c h y or c o n f i g u r a t i o n of b a s i c psychogenic needs or motives (Atkinson & B i r c h , 1978). In 1938 Murray p u b l i s h e d a taxonomy which i n c l u d e d twenty b a s i c human needs. One of these was need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n . Murray o r i g i n a l l y measured need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n with a p r o j e c t i v e t e s t , the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT). More r e c e n t l y r e s e a r c h e r s have developed s e l f - r e p o r t p e r s o n a l i t y s c a l e s which appear to p r o v i d e a more r e l i a b l e measure of t h i s c o n s t r u c t ( C l a r k e , 1973). Measuring need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n . A review of a v a r i e t y of instruments which measure need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n i n d i c a t e d Jackson's P e r s o n a l i t y Research Form was among the most accurate (Hogan, 1978; C l a r k e , 1973). C l a r k e r e p o r t e d that there appeared to be a strong r e l a t i o n s h i p between high scores on the s c a l e s and behaviors which i n d i c a t e d h i g h need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n and need f o r achievement. The c o r r e l a t i o n c o e f f i c i e n t s between the s c a l e and v a r i o u s b e h a v i o r a l r a t i n g s ranged 29 from +0.40 to +0.80 (Jackson-, 197*4-) . The i n d i v i d u a l who r e c e i v e s a high score on a t e s t of need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n has been d e s c r i b e d as a person who "enjoys being with f r i e n d s and people i n g e n e r a l ; accepts people r e a d i l y , makes e f f o r t s to win f r i e n d s h i p s and maintain a s s o c i a t i o n s with people" (Jackson, 1974, p.6). Research r e l a t i n g to need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n . Although there are not a great number of s t u d i e s examining t h i s c o n s t r u c t , r e s e a r c h does i n d i c a t e that a high score on a need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n s c a l e c o r r e l a t e s with behaviors d i r e c t e d towards i n t e r a c t i o n with other people. In one study s u b j e c t s high i n need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n were found to make more non-business phone c a l l s and communicated more o f t e n with work a s s o c i a t e s (Lansing & Henes, 1959). Males and females who were high, i n need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n were more l i k e l y to a v o i d making p o t e n t i a l l y d i v i s i v e comments t o others working on the same group task ( E x l i n e , 1962). Need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n was p o s i t i v e l y c o r r e l a t e d with the number of c o n v e r s a t i o n s and l e t t e r s i n s t i g a t e d by an i n d i v i d u a l (McAdams & Co n s t a n t i a n , 1983). Need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n i n e d u c a t i o n a l s e t t i n g s . The r e s u l t s of a number of s t u d i e s suggest that people who are hig h i n need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n perform b e t t e r and are happier i n e d u c a t i o n a l s e t t i n g s i n which there are o p p o r t u n i t i e s for' p e r s o n a l i n t e r a c t i o n . One of the e a r l i e s t s t u d i e s was undertaken by French and Chadwick (1956) who found that when a f f i l i a t i o n feedback was given, s u b j e c t s who were high i n need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n were found to l e a r n more. McKeachie (1961) noted that although such data as scores on c o l l e g e entrance exams and high school grades do c o r r e l a t e very h i g h l y with c o l l e g e success, such c o r r e l a t i o n s seldom exceed 0.5. McKeachie suggested that i t would be u s e f u l to f i n d other p r e d i c t i v e measures which would e x p l a i n the remaining v a r i a n c e i n c o l l e g e grades. In h i s o p i n i o n i n d i v i d u a l d i f f e r e n c e s i n c l u d i n g need fo r a f f i l i a t i o n would account i n some s i g n i f i c a n t measure f o r success i n higher e d u c a t i o n . He a l s o suggested that f a c t o r s such as need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n be used to examine why p a r t i c u l a r t e a c h i n g methods are more e f f e c t i v e with some students than o t h e r s . In a group of s t u d i e s he found that men high i n need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n obtained b e t t e r grades i n c l a s s e s i n which the i n s t r u c t o r s p r o v i d e d many a f f i l i a t i v e cues. Cues i n c l u d e d such behaviors as c a l l i n g the students by name and t a k i n g a p e r s o n a l i n t e r e s t i n students. Women whether high or low i n need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n r e c e i v e d b e t t e r grades r e l a t i v e l y i n the c l a s s e s with i n s t r u c t o r s who gave many 31 a f f i l i a t i o n cues. In the course which p r o v i d e d the hig h e s t number of a f f i l i a t i o n cues, students high i n need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n were more s a t i s f i e d than students who were r a t e d low i n need fo r a f f i l i a t i o n . Although he does not study the value of the a f f i l i a t i o n cues r e c e i v e d from other students, McKeachie notes that t h i s might be a f r u i t f u l area f o r study. In three other s t u d i e s he found t h a t men high i n need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n made r e l a t i v e l y b e t t e r grades i n c l a s s e s c h a r a c t e r i z e d by a hig h l e v e l of a f f i l i a t i o n cues, whereas men low i n need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n d i d r e l a t i v e l y b e t t e r i n c l a s s e s low i n a f f i l i a t i o n cues. The r e s u l t s f o r women were not c o n s i s t e n t (McKeachie, L i n , M i l h o l l a n d & Isaacson, 1966). T h i s f i t s i n with f i n d i n g s i n the e a r l i e r study which suggests t h a t women, r e g a r d l e s s of how they r a t e i n need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n , tend to do w e l l i n s i t u a t i o n s where there are many a f f i l i a t i o n cues. P a s c a l (1973) found that when students were given a c h o i c e of independent study, l e c t u r e - d i s c u s s i o n or l e c t u r e o n l y , those who chose the independent study o p t i o n i n d i c a t e d a s i g n i f i c a n t l y g r e a t e r need f o r autonomy than those who chose the other two o p t i o n s . Although these s t u d e n t s were not measured f o r need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n 90% of those i n the l e c t u r e - d i s c u s s i o n group noted as a b e n e f i t that the group d i s c u s s i o n format allowed them an o p p o r t u n i t y t o i n t e r a c t with t h e i r peers and the i n s t r u c t o r . Chan (1975) found that secondary school students who were hi g h i n need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n p r e f e r r e d group l e a r n i n g s i t u a t i o n s while students low i n need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n s t a t e d a preference f o r independent l e a r n i n g . When an independent study s i t u a t i o n was f o l l o w e d by a group l e a r n i n g s i t u a t i o n , students high in need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n showed s i g n i f i c a n t l y more improvement in the number of l i t e r a r y hypotheses generated than students low i n need fo r a f f i l i a t i o n . Schneider & Green (1977) found that the need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n c o n f l i c t e d with the "need f o r achievement" in academic s i t u a t i o n s . Students with high scores on s c a l e s measuring both needs obtained lower grades than students who were high i n need fo r achievement but low in need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n . One study ( L e f c o u r t , M a r t i n &. Sal,eh, 19.84). showed, a h i g h negative c o r r e l a t i o n between need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n and "need f o r autonomy". T h i s r a i s e s the p o s s i b i l i t y that students who are higher i n need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n may be lower i n need f o r autonomy and may f i n d i t d i f f i c u l t to study at home. The evidence suggests that f o r some people the o p p o r t u n i t y to i n t e r a c t with others i s important i n e d u c a t i o n a l s e t t i n g s . It may be assumed that students who are h i g h i n need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n w i l l u s u a l l y be 33 able to s a t i s f y that need' in- the classroom. Even when the i n s t r u c t o r i s not p e r c e i v e d as being warm or h i g h l y e x p r e s s i v e students w i l l f i n d ways to i n t e r a c t , e i t h e r through q u e s t i o n s to the i n s t r u c t o r or through i n t e r a c t i o n s with other s t u d e n t s . Such o p p o r t u n i t i e s are l i m i t e d i n d i s t a n c e education and may be a c o n t r i b u t i n g f a c t o r when students drop out. Di s t a n c e education can make l e a r n i n g o p p o r t u n i t i e s a v a i l a b l e to i n d i v i d u a l s who have not been a b l e to at t e n d c l a s s e s at e x i s t i n g i n s t i t u t i o n s . As the demand for l i f e l o n g l e a r n i n g i n c r e a s e s these i n d i v i d u a l s may form a l a r g e part of the student body at e x i s t i n g i n s t i t u t i o n s . However components may need to be added to d i s t a n c e education programs which allow students to choose l e a r n i n g a c t i v i t i e s which meet t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l needs. Developing the r i g h t mixture of o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r i n t e r a c t i o n and independence is.one o f the c h a l l e n g e s ahead f o r educators. 34 CHAPTER III OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY AND HYPOTHESES O b j e c t i v e s of the Study The review of r e s e a r c h l i t e r a t u r e i n d i c a t e d that s t u d e n t - t o - s t u d e n t i n t e r a c t i o n would be b e n e f i c i a l to some l e a r n e r s . One means of p r o v i d i n g such o p p o r t u n i t i e s i n an area such as B r i t i s h Columbia where i n d i v i d u a l l e a r n e r s may be some d i s t a n c e apart i s to allow students to communicate with each other over the telephone. The o b j e c t i v e s of t h i s study are f i r s t , to determine whether students can b e n e f i t from o p p o r t u n i t i e s to i n t e r a c t with each other v i a the telephone and second, to examine whether the p e r s o n a l i t y c o n s t r u c t need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n i s a s s o c i a t e d with students who b e n e f i t from such i n t e r a c t i o n . Hypotheses The r e s e a r c h hypotheses s t a t e d i n the n u l l form a r e : (1) the drop-out r a t e would not d i f f e r between a group of students p r o v i d e d with o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r a f f i l i a t i o n with other students and a group which was not; (2) measures of s a t i s f a c t i o n would not d i f f e r between a group of students p r o v i d e d with o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r a f f i l i a t i o n with other students and a group which was not; (3) there would be no d i f f e r e n c e i n the performance of a group of students who were p r o v i d e d with o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r a f f i l i a t i o n and a group which was not; and (4) the p e r s o n a l i t y c o n s t r u c t need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n would not be c o r r e l a t e d with student drop-out, student s a t i s f a c t i o n or student achievement. CHAPTER IV DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY OF THE STUDY Research Design The S u b j e c t s . The 29 p a r t i c i p a n t s i n the study were students who were r e g i s t e r e d for- c r e d i t i n a North I s l a n d Community C o l l e g e d i s t a n c e education course i n developmental psychology. These students were s e l e c t e d because the course i n s t r u c t o r was w i l l i n g to i n v o l v e a treatment group i n telephone conferences and to check the r e s u l t s of such a treatment. A l e t t e r was sent out with course m a t e r i a l s a s k i n g the students to v o l u n t e e r fo r the study by f i l l i n g out the i n i t i a l q u e s t i o n n a i r e . T h i r t y - t w o students v o l u n t e e r e d . Each student was randomly a s s i g n e d to e i t h e r the treatment or c o n t r o l group. Data on one of the students in the treatment group were not used as she was not a v a i l a b l e at the time of the conference c a l l s . Data on two of the students i n the c o n t r o l , group were, not used as. they were acquainted with other students i n the course (not members of the c o n t r o l group) and they were t h e r e f o r e c o n s i d e r e d not to be i s o l a t e d from other s t u d e n t s . The course, "From Conception to Age S i x " , i n c l u d e d t e l e v i s i o n programs p r o v i d e d through s a t e l l i t e b roadcasts and a p r i n t component c o n s i s t i n g of a manual and t e x t s . The Knowledge Network broadcasts were hosted by the f a c u l t y member i n charge of the course, Dr. Michael Catchpole. 37 The course c r e d i t would be t r a n s f e r a b l e to a l l B.C. u n i v e r s i t i e s and community c o l l e g e s . I t c o u l d a l s o be used as part of a program to gain a c c r e d i t a t i o n as a l i c e n s e d day care worker. Thus some students were e n r o l l e d i n the course i n order to advance t h e i r c a r e e r s or gain degrees. Others simply wanted to o b t a i n i n f o r m a t i o n about c h i l d development and used the assignments and f i n a l c r e d i t as a means to o b t a i n feedback on t h e i r own p e r s o n a l l e a r n i n g . The students were s i m i l a r i n many ways to the general p o p u l a t i o n of d i s t a n c e l e a r n e r s in B r i t i s h Columbia. They were a d u l t s who had f i n i s h e d t h e i r f u l l - t i m e b a s i c education. They had undertaken part-time study for a v a r i e t y of reasons ranging from general i n t e r e s t to c a r e e r advancement. However t h i s sample d i d d i f f e r from the g e n e r a l p o p u l a t i o n of d i s t a n c e . l e a r n e r s in t h i s p r o v i n c e i n two r e s p e c t s . A l l of the students i n the sample were female and s i n c e the programs were broadcast i n the afternoon i t c o u l d be assumed that most of the students would not have had day-time jo b s . A l l the d i s t a n c e education students e n r o l l e d i n t h i s course were encouraged to c a l l t h e i r i n s t r u c t o r c o l l e c t i f they encountered problems with t h e i r s t u d i e s d u r i n g the three and a h a l f month term. As w e l l Dr. Catchpole t r i e d to telephone each of h i s students around the times that major assignments were due to d i s c u s s t h e i r progress with them. Each student r e c e i v e d about four c a l l s from the i n s t r u c t o r . C o n t r o l . Students i n the c o n t r o l group r e c e i v e d c a l l s from the i n s t r u c t o r on an i n d i v i d u a l b a s i s . He d i s c u s s e d t h e i r assignments and progress i n the course with them. Treatment. The treatment c o n s i s t e d of v a r y i n g the format of the telephone c a l l s to i n c l u d e other students. Two of the c a l l s which students i n the treatment group r e c e i v e d from Dr. Catchpole were conference c a l l s l a s t i n g f o r about 15 minutes. The students were able to t a l k not only to the i n s t r u c t o r but a l s o to three or four other students at the same time. The students were c l u s t e r e d a c c o r d i n g t o r e g i o n f o r the conference c a l l s . There were four c l u s t e r s . In one c l u s t e r there were two students who l i v e d i n the., same c i t y . Otherwise the students l i v e d from about 15 to 100 miles apart. The f i r s t telephone c a l l was i n i t i a t e d by Dr. Catchpole on February 16, 1984, roughly a month a f t e r the course began. Dr. Catchpole began by a s k i n g each student to t e l l the group a l i t t l e about h e r s e l f and her reasons f o r t a k i n g the course. They d i s c u s s e d d i s c i p l i n e i n the home, the t o p i c of a recent course broadcast, and t a l k e d about whether the students had 39 found the most recent assignment d i f f i c u l t . At the- end of the c a l l the students were asked i f they wished to give t h e i r telephone numbers out to the r e s t of the group. A l l agreed to do t h i s . Dr. Catchpole encouraged the students to c a l l each other i f they were in c l o s e enough p r o x i m i t y . The c a l l was f o l l o w e d up with a mailed n o t i c e from the i n s t r u c t o r p r o v i d i n g the telephone numbers of other students i n the group. In the second c a l l on March 29, the students d i s c u s s e d a course t o p i c and t a l k e d about how they were coping with the course assignments. Dr. Catchpole drew a t t e n t i o n to problems which were common to the group. The students were again encouraged to c a l l each other. M a t e r i a l s I n i t i a l q u e s t i o n n a i r e . The i n i t i a l q u e s t i o n n a i r e was sent out i n January, 1984, the month in which the students r e g i s t e r e d f o r the course and began t h e i r s t u d i e s . A copy of the q u e s t i o n n a i r e appears i n Appendix A. The q u e s t i o n n a i r e was made up of 52 items from three s c a l e s from Jackson's P e r s o n a l i t y Research Form E: a f f i l i a t i o n , achievement and autonomy. The s c a l e of most i n t e r e s t i n t h i s study was r e l a t e d to need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n . Items from the achievement and autonomy s c a l e s were int e r m i x e d so that the purpose of the items measuring a f f i l i a t i o n would 40 not be obvious. The s c a l e s c o n s i s t e d of statements which the viewers were asked to r a t e as e i t h e r t rue or f a l s e . Because earning the c r e d i t might be a m o t i v a t i n g f a c t o r i n i t s e l f , students were asked to r a t e the value of the course c r e d i t to t h e i r c a r e e r plans on a s c a l e of one to f i v e . F i n a l q u e s t i o n n a i r e . The f i n a l q u e s t i o n n a i r e was sent out i n June. A copy appears i n Appendix B. For t h i s q u e s t i o n n a i r e a L i k e r t - t y p e s c a l e was developed by t h i s r e s e a r c h e r . I t was designed to assess student s a t i s f a c t i o n with the experience of being a d i s t a n c e education student. Questions were a l s o included-as to whether the student had completed the course and i f they had not been able to do so, why not; whether they had i n i t i a t e d any c o n t a c t s with other students; and whether they intended to r e g i s t e r f o r other, d i s t a n c e education c o u r s e s . Students were asked about t h e i r c o n t a c t s with other students i n order to see i f members of the treatment group would f o l l o w up with other students i n t h e i r telephone c o n f e r e n c i n g group. I t was a l s o important to know whether members of the c o n t r o l group were indeed i s o l a t e d as i s u s u a l l y the case i n a d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n s e t t i n g . Students i n the c o n t r o l group who knew and i n t e r a c t e d with other students i n 41 the course would be- e l i m i n a t e d from the study. Other Information Obtained. Information was obtained on each students' p r e v i o u s e d u c a t i o n a l background and marks i n the course. North I s l a n d C o l l e g e c o u l d not provide i n f o r m a t i o n on the degrees which the students had p r e v i o u s l y earned. However, at the the time of r e g i s t r a t i o n they had been asked about high s c h o o l completion and pr e v i o u s i n s t i t u t i o n s at which they had been e n r o l l e d . The i n f o r m a t i o n was used to r a t e the students on a s c a l e of 1 to 5 as to t h e i r academic backgrounds. Ratings were a p p l i e d as f o l l o w s : (1) had not completed high school (2) completed h i g h school (3) completed h i g h school and the p r e v i o u s d i s t a n c e education course o f f e r e d by Dr. Catchpole (4) completed some other community c o l l e g e or v o c a t i o n a l i n s t i t u t e courses or (5) completed some u n i v e r s i t y c o u r s e s . Some of the students had i n d i c a t e d at the end of June that although they had not completed the course, they intended to do so. A follow-up was made i n mid-September 1984 to d i s c o v e r i f they had done so. Sc o r i n g and Item A n a l y s i s . Item a n a l y s i s u s i n g the Laboratory of Education Research Test A n a l y s i s Package (LERTAP) (Nelson, 1974) was run on the three p e r s o n a l i t y s c a l e s and the L i k e r t - t y p e s c a l e measuring student s a t i s f a c t i o n . The Hoyt estimate of r e l i a b i l i t y f o r the s c a l e measuring need f o r achievement was .74; f o r need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n , .71; and f o r need f o r autonomy, .68. The Hoyt estimate of r e l i a b i l i t y f o r the s c a l e measuring s a t i s f a c t i o n with a d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n s i t u a t i o n was .88. T h i s was deemed s a t i s f a c t o r y f o r res e a r c h purposes except that the need f o r autonomy was noted as being a b i t lower than one would wish. S t a t i s t i c a l t e s t s . S t a t i s t i c s were computed with the S t a t i s t i c s Packages i n the S o c i a l Science (SPSSX) fo r computers (SPSS, Inc., 1983). Because of the small s i z e of the sample two non-parametric s t a t i s t i c a l t e s t s were used. A c h i square t e s t was used to compare the treatment and c o n t r o l groups i n terms of drop-out, i n t e n t i o n t o r e g i s t e r f o r f u r t h e r d i s t a n c e education courses and e d u c a t i o n a l background. F i n a l marks, scores on the s a t i s f a c t i o n s c a l e and the t h r e e p e r s o n a l i t y s c a l e s were compared using Mann-Whitney U t e s t s . C o r r e l a t i o n s were computed on a number of v a r i a b l e s u s i n g the Pearson product moment c o e f f i c i e n t of c o r r e l a t i o n . T h i s was used because the v a r i a b l e s are c o n t i n u o u s and s u f f i c i e n t degrees of freedom were o b t a i n e d . The r e l a t i o n s h i p s among the a f f i l i a t i o n , 43 achievement and autonomy scales-, scores on the L i k e r t - t y p e s c a l e measuring s a t i s f a c t i o n with the d i s t a n c e education s i t u a t i o n , f i n a l marks, and course completion were examined. C o r r e l a t i o n s were computed f o r the whole sample and f o r the treatment and c o n t r o l groups s e p a r a t e l y . The o b j e c t i v e here was to i d e n t i f y any p o t e n t i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s which might e x i s t between the p e r s o n a l i t y c o n s t r u c t , need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n , and the outcome measures such as drop-out r a t e , student s a t i s f a c t i o n and student marks. The mean and median scores of students in t h i s sample on the three p e r s o n a l i t y s c a l e s were compared wit h p o p u l a t i o n norms f o r females s u p p l i e d by the t e s t developer (Jackson, 1974). These p o p u l a t i o n norms were developed by t e s t i n g psychology students at u n i v e r s i t i e s i n Canada and the U n i t e d S t a t e s . Comparisons with a l a r g e r p o p u l a t i o n of psychology students might i n d i c a t e a p o t e n t i a l f o r g e n e r a l i z a t i o n . CHAPTER V RESULTS OF THE EXPERIMENT S t a t i s t i c a l A n a l y s i s of R e s u l t s Drop-out r a t e . The f i r s t h ypothesis was that the drop-out rate would not d i f f e r between a group of students provided with o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r a f f i l i a t i o n and a group which was not. In the treatment group 2 out of 15 s u b j e c t s f a i l e d to complete the course. In the c o n t r o l group 7 out of 14 students f a i l e d to complete the course. A l l data i s c o n t a i n e d i n Appendix C. A c h i square a n a l y s i s was done on the drop-out d a t a . The c h i square was 4.55 with one degree of freedom, s i g n i f i c a n t at the .03 l e v e l . Because of the small numbers a Yates c o r r e c t i o n f o r c o n t i n u i t y was made which lowered the c h i square value to 3.00 s i g n i f i c a n t at the .08 l e v e l . S t r i c t l y speaking, the n u l l h y p o t h e s i s must be accepted but r e s e r v a t i o n s can. be. expressed.. I t appears that, there, i s an e f f e c t on the drop-out r a t e exerted by the p r o v i s i o n of a f f i l i a t i o n a c t i v i t i e s , but the e f f e c t here f a l l s j u s t short of the s i g n i f i c a n c e l e v e l u s u a l l y accepted i n s o c i a l s c i e n c e s r e s e a r c h . R e p l i c a t i o n of the study with a g r e a t e r number of p a r t i c i p a n t s i s i n d i c a t e d by t h i s f i n d i n g . Student s a t i s f a c t i o n . The second h y p o t h e s i s , s t a t e d i n the n u l l form, was that measures of s a t i s f a c t i o n would not d i f f e r between a group of students p r o v i d e d with o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r a f f i l i a t i o n with other students and a group which was not. Scores on a L i k e r t - t y p e s c a l e measuring s a t i s f a c t i o n with the d i s t a n c e education s i t u a t i o n were compared using a Mann-Whitney U t e s t . The d i f f e r e n c e between the two groups was not s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t (U=81, z=-1.05, p=.29, df=29). Rated s a t i s f a c t i o n with the course d i d c o r r e l a t e p o s i t i v e l y with course completion, r=.30 with p=.11, df=29, and with student performance, r=.54 with p=.0l, df=20. A q u e s t i o n on i n t e n t i o n to r e g i s t e r f o r f u t u r e d i s t a n c e education courses was a l s o intended to be a measure of student s a t i s f a c t i o n . There was no s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e between the responses of the two groups on t h i s q u e s t i o n . The h y p o t h e s i s of no d i f f e r e n c e must be accepted. Student achievement. The t h i r d hypothesis was that there would be no d i f f e r e n c e s i n the performance of a group of students who were pr o v i d e d with o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r a f f i l i a t i o n and a group which was not. The scores of those students who completed the course were compared u s i n g the Mann-Whitney U t e s t . The d i f f e r e n c e between the two groups was not s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t (U=42, z=.28, p=.78, df=20). The seven students i n the c o n t r o l group who completed the course had a mean average achievement score that 46 was two p o i n t s higher than those i n the treatment group. The hypothesis must be accepted. Need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n . The f o u r t h hypothesis was that the p e r s o n a l i t y c o n s t r u c t , need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n , would not be c o r r e l a t e d with student drop-out, student s a t i s f a c t i o n or student performance as i n d i c a t e d by the students' f i n a l marks. Need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n showed a m i l d negative c o r r e l a t i o n with student performance when the whole sample was used, with r=-.38 which reached a s i g n i f i c a n c e l e v e l of .10 , df=20. The n u l l h ypothesis must be accepted. There was, however an i n t e r e s t i n g f i n d i n g which neared s t a t i s t i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e . When the treatment and c o n t r o l groups were separated and c o r r e l a t i o n s made between the v a r i a b l e s , the r e s u l t s were somewhat d i f f e r e n t . When the treatment group alone was examined, there was a low c o r r e l a t i o n , r = - . l l . with p=.72, df=13. When the c o n t r o l group was examined s e p a r a t e l y there was a high c o r r e l a t i o n , r=-.70 with p=.08, df=7. C o r r e l a t i o n s with student drop-out and s a t i s f a c t i o n were not s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t . Students who were high i n need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n might have been expected to f o l l o w up on the t e l e c o n f e r e n c e s with t h e i r own telephone c a l l s . None of the students i n the treatment group r e p o r t e d having done so. 47 TABLE ONE CORRELATIONS BETWEEN VARIABLES A l l S u b j e c t s Ach Af f Aut Sat Per CC Ach 1 .00 -.32 -.08 .18 .55 .58 Af f 1 .00 -.57 -.10 -.38 -.21 Aut 1 .00 -.10 -.21 .26 Sat 1 .00 .54 -.30 Per 1 .00 CC 1 .00 Treatment Group Ach Af f Aut Sat Per CC Ach 1 .00 -.44 -.14 .39 .44 .12 Af f 1 .00 -.47 -.21 -.11 -.23 Aut 1 .00 -.06 -.01 .07 Sat 1 .00 .61 -.22 Per 1 .00 CC 1 .00 C o n t r o l Group Ach Af f Aut Sat Per CC Ach 1 .00 -.20 -.01 -.03 .75 .21 Af f 1 .00 -.68 -.02 -.70 -.22 Aut 1 .00 -.24 .41 .30 Sat 1 .00 . 55 -.24 Per 1 .00 CC 1 .00 Ach=Score on need f o r achievement Aff=Score on need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n Aut=Score on need f o r autonomy Sat=Score on s a t i s f a c t i o n s c a l e P e r = F i n a l mark of student CC=Course completion Note: Although need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n was the p r i n c i p a l a t t r i b u t e being s t u d i e d , need f o r achievement and autonomy r a t i n g s were i n c l u d e d i n the c o r r e l a t i o n matrix because they were a v a i l a b l e . 48 F a c t o r s which might have affected- the study. Although the s u b j e c t s were assigned randomly to the treatment and c o n t r o l groups, a post hoc comparison was made to see i f there were any d i f f e r e n c e s between the two groups which might have a f f e c t e d the r e s u l t s of the experiment. There were no s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s between the two groups in s e l f - r a t e d m o t i v a t i o n , previous e d u c a t i o n a l background, or on p r e - t e s t scores f o r need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n , need f o r achievement and need fo r autonomy. Both groups were able to i n t e r a c t with the i n s t r u c t o r and thus had some o p p o r t u n i t y f o r l i m i t e d a f f i l i a t i o n with him. However only the treatment group had the op p o r t u n i t y f o r a f f i l i a t i o n a c t i v i t i e s with other students. Comparison of sample with p o p u l a t i o n norms. Po p u l a t i o n norms were a v a i l a b l e f o r the three s c a l e s on which the students were i n i t i a l l y measured and were used to compare the sample with a gen e r a l p o p u l a t i o n of female psychology students. In need f o r achievement the mean score of the sample group was 9.7 and the median score was 10 which was e q u i v a l e n t to a 50 p e r c e n t i l e l e v e l using Jackson's norms f o r women. In need for a f f i l i a t i o n the mean score was 9.3, the median 9, e q u i v a l e n t to a 50 p e r c e n t i l e l e v e l . In need f o r autonomy the mean score was 6, the median 6, e q u i v a l e n t to the 37 p e r c e n t i l e l e v e l f o r the p o p u l a t i o n . 49 D i s c u s s i o n of R e s u l t s Drop-out r a t e . The d i f f e r e n c e i n the r a t e of drop-out between the treatment and c o n t r o l groups was dramatic. Only 2 out of the 15 s t u d e n t s i n the treatment group dropped out while 7 out of 14 students i n the c o n t r o l group f a i l e d to complete the course. Chi square a n a l y s i s of the drop-out r a t e had a s i g n i f i c a n c e l e v e l of p=.03 but w i t h the Yates c o r r e c t i o n because of the low number of s u b j e c t s the s i g n i f i c a n c e l e v e l was .08. Adding weight to the argument that the treatment had an e f f e c t were two i n f o r m a l o b s e r v a t i o n s on the p a r t of t h i s r e s e a r c h e r . The s t u d e n t s appeared to be h i g h l y i n v o l v e d i n the t e l e c o n f e r e n c e s . Many of t h e i r comments were addressed to each o t h e r r a t h e r than to the p r o f e s s o r . Another f a c t o r which i n d i c a t e d some involvement or committment to the group was the speed of r e t u r n of the f i n a l q u e s t i o n a i r e . The students who returned the f i n a l q u e s t i o n n a i r e most q u i c k l y were the completers i n the treatment group. The slowest students to r e t u r n t h i s q u e s t i o n n a i r e were the drop-outs i n the treatment group. They r e q u i r e d a number of reminders. T h i s suggested a g r e a t e r involvement on the p a r t of the treatment group with perhaps more r e l u c t a n c e on the p a r t of those who dropped out to acknowledge t h e i r f a i l u r e to complete. Both members of the treatment group and members of the c o n t r o l group knew that t h e i r answers were r e l a t e d to a study of d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n . I t was not p o s s i b l e to keep an accurate r e c o r d of the t o t a l time spent by the students on the telephone l i n e with the i n s t r u c t o r . Students i n the treatment group may have logged more minutes on the telephone with the i n s t r u c t o r simply because i t was a conference c a l l . The conference c a l l s l a s t e d about 15 minutes each while i n d i v i d u a l c a l l s to students may have f i n i s h e d more q u i c k l y . A common-sense examination of the numbers suggests t h a t there was some d i f f e r e n c e between the treatment and c o n t r o l groups. Although, a f t e r the Yates c o r r e c t i o n , the l e v e l of s t a t i s t i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e was not as high as one would wish the evidence, suggests t h a t the treatment had an e f f e c t on the l e v e l of drop-out. Student s a t i s f a c t i o n . There were no s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s between the scores of the two groups on the s a t i s f a c t i o n s c a l e as might have been expected given the d i f f e r e n c e s i n the r a t e of drop-out. However student s a t i s f a c t i o n was h i g h l y c o r r e l a t e d with the marks obtained and to a l e s s e r extent with course completion. T h i s i n d i c a t e s 51 that f e e l i n g s about achievement r a t h e r than f e e l i n g s about the d i s t a n c e education s e t t i n g were r e f l e c t e d i n responses to the s a t i s f a c t i o n s c a l e . The students obtained marks from t h e i r assignments at a v a r i e t y of p o i n t s throughout the course and t h e i r f i n a l marks were mailed to them at about the same time as the f i n a l q u e s t i o n n a i r e . A q u e s t i o n about i n t e n t i o n to r e g i s t e r f o r f u r t h e r d i s t a n c e education courses was a l s o intended as a gauge of s a t i s f a c t i o n . The d i f f e r e n c e s between the two groups were not s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t i n t h i s case e i t h e r . One c o u l d have expected that the c o n t r o l group which had a higher r a t e of drop-out might have d i f f e r e d from the treatment group on t h i s q u e s t i o n i n that students who dropped out might not have been as eager to r e g i s t e r f o r another d i s t a n c e education course as those who f i n i s h e d s u c c e s s f u l l y . I t i s p o s s i b l e that the s i z e of the sample was not l a r g e enough to r e f l e c t e x i s t i n g d i f f e r e n c e s . As w e l l there may have been p e r s o n a l reasons about which t h i s r esearcher had no knowledge which might have accounted f o r the lac k of s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s . I t i s p o s s i b l e that f o r the mothers of young c h i l d r e n , the t o p i c may have been of such high i n t e r e s t t h at they enjoyed the experience r e g a r d l e s s of whether or not they earned the c r e d i t . 52 Student performance. There were no s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s between the two groups i n the marks as might have been expected given p r e v i o u s r e s e a r c h f i n d i n g s . R e s u l t s may have been i n f l u e n c e d by the low numbers of s u b j e c t s s i n c e h a l f of the c o n t r o l group had not completed the course and t h e r e f o r e d i d not have marks. The f a c t that the c o n t r o l group mean performance (83.6) was two marks higher than that of treatment group (81.5) may i n d i c a t e t h at only the best students i n the c o n t r o l group completed the course. However because of the small number of completers i n the c o n t r o l group t h i s remains c o n j e c t u r e . The r o l e of need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n . The most notable c o r r e l a t i o n r e l a t i n g to need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n i n v o l v e d the students' performance with r=-.38, p=.10. T h i s suggests that higher need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n c o u l d be r e l a t e d to a lower mark for a l l st u d e n t s . When the c o r r e l a t i o n s were made s e p a r a t e l y f o r the treatment and c o n t r o l group a more i n t e r e s t i n g p a t t e r n emerged. For the c o n t r o l group there was a c o r r e l a t i o n of r=-.70, p=.08. For the treatment group the c o r r e l a t i o n between mark and need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n was only r=-.11, p=.72. T h i s suggests that the treatment may have moderated the e f f e c t s of t h i s p e r s o n a l i t y c o n s t r u c t in some way. I t i s p o s s i b l e that when the 53 students' need fo r a f f i l i a t i o n was met through group telephone c a l l s , t h i s need d i d not a f f e c t performance. However when the students need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n was not met, there was an e f f e c t on performance. These f i n d i n g s i n d i c a t e that need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n may be an important f a c t o r i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n . There were no requirements f o r students to work together on course assignments. However one may ask why, i f the a f f i l i a t i o n o p p o r t u n i t i e s were important to students in the treatment group, they d i d not c a l l each >other a f t e r the conference c a l l s . A number of causes can be c o n j e c t u r e d . I t may have been that t h e i r need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n was met through the conference c a l l s which p r o v i d e d them with a sense that there were other students with problems and concerns s i m i l a r to t h e i r own and through a d d i t i o n a l c o n t a c t s with the i n s t r u c t o r . A l s o Dr. Catchpole,., suggests that the c o s t of long d i s t a n c e phone c a l l s would have been a b a r r i e r to h i s students even though the d i s t a n c e s between the students in most cases were not g r e a t . As w e l l , few students would have had arty i n f o r m a t i o n on the value of networking or s e l f - h e l p groups i n education and might not have seen t h i s as an accepted p r a c t i c e . In a d d i t i o n , they might have been a f r a i d that h e l p i n g o t h e r s might d e t r a c t from t h e i r own achievement. F i n a l l y because the students had f a r l e s s f a m i l i l i a r i t y 5 4 with each other than students meeting i n a classroom s e t t i n g , they may have been too shy to i n i t i a t e f u r t h e r c o n t a c t s with each other. G e n e r a l i z a t i o n of r e s u l t s . G e n e r a l i z a t i o n of r e s u l t s to a l a r g e r p o p u l a t i o n of d i s t a n c e l e a r n e r s i s l i m i t e d by the small s i z e of t h i s sample although the students i n t h i s study appeared to be very s i m i l a r to the general p o p u l a t i o n of female psychology students i n need f o r achievement and need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n w ith somewhat lower autonomy r a t i n g s . These s i m i l a r i t i e s i n c r e a s e the p o t e n t i a l f o r g e n e r a l i z i n g the r e s u l t s of the study to female students e n r o l l e d i n u n i v e r s i t y l e v e l courses. Given that p r e v i o u s r e s e a r c h i n d i c a t e d t h at females r e g a r d l e s s of how they scored on a need fo r a f f i l i a t i o n measure responded to a f f i l i a t i v e cues, i t i s probably not p o s s i b l e to g e n e r a l i z e the r e s u l t s to males., p a r t i c u l a r l y those, i n n o n - u n i v e r s i t y or g e n e r a l i n t e r e s t c o urses. T h i s s e r i e s of q u e s t i o n s r e q u i r e s f u r t h e r i n v e s t i g a t i o n . 55 CHAPTER VI SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Summary Distance education i s p r o v i d i n g new o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r l e a r n e r s a l l over the world. Instead of t r a v e l l i n g to an e d u c a t i o n a l i n s t i t u t i o n and a t t e n d i n g c l a s s e s under the d i r e c t s u p e r v i s i o n of an i n s t r u c t o r these l e a r n e r s r e c e i v e educat ionavl- programs i n t h e i r home communities through p r i n t and p o s t a l correspondence, t e l e v i s i o n , r a d i o and s a t e l l i t e broadcasts, and telephone. D i s t a n c e education i s used for a v a r i e t y of purposes i n c l u d i n g the p r o v i s i o n of a g r i c u l t u r a l i n f o r m a t i o n to farmers, the enrichment of elementary and secondary school c u r r i c u l u m s , and the promotion of s o c i a l change or community awareness. Many programs are aimed at a d u l t s who have completed t h e i r e a r l y e d u c a t i o n but who want to study on a part-time b a s i s . D i s t a n c e education a l l o w s them to upgrade or o b t a i n b a s i c s k i l l s and knowledge, to keep abreast of changes in t h e i r f i e l d of work and to pursue i n t e r e s t s or hobbies. The m a j o r i t y of post-secondary i n s t i t u t i o n s in B r i t i s h Columbia o f f e r some d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n courses to a d u l t l e a r n e r s who are unable to a t t e n d c l a s s e s on a r e g u l a r b a s i s . 56 The p r i n c i p a l advantage o f d i s t a n c e education i s that the i n d i v i d u a l can choose the time, p l a c e and pace of study most a p p r o p r i a t e to h i s needs and p e r s o n a l s i t u a t i o n . There are a l s o disadvantages to d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n . The m a j o r i t y of d i s t a n c e l e a r n e r s are p a r t - t i m e students who must balance the requirements of study with those of f a m i l y and job. Often there i s a s i g n i f i c a n t time l a g between the date-on which the student sends in an assignment and the date on which he r e c e i v e s i t back in the mail with c o r r e c t i o n s and c l a r i f i c a t i o n s . If he has q u e s t i o n s , the student u s u a l l y does not have immediate access to the i n s t r u c t o r as he would in a classroom. As w e l l , he l a c k s the companionship of other students with whom he might ex p l o r e ideas. A c o n s i s t e n t complaint of students i n d i s t a n c e education programs has been r e l a t e d to the sense of i s o l a t i o n which they e x p e r i e n c e d . The lack of o p p o r t u n i t y f o r a f f i l i a t i o n appears to be one of the f a c t o r s which c o n t r i b u t e to the h i g h drop-out r a t e in d i s t a n c e education programs. Although i t i s d i f f i c u l t to come up with an average r a t e of drop-out because of v a r i a t i o n s i n the way such s t a t i s t i c s are reported, i t would not be unreasonable to suggest that about h a l f of students who e n r o l l i n a d i s t a n c e d i s t a n c e education course w i l l 57 f a i l to complete i t . I n s t i t u t i o n s which make o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r i n t e r a c t i o n a v a i l a b l e to students appear to have lower drop-out r a t e s , although f a c t o r s other than a f f i l i a t i o n may be i n v o l v e d . Lack of s o c i a l c o n t a c t may be more of a problem fo r some students than f o r o t h e r s . While some i n d i v i d u a l s may t h r i v e i n an independent study s i t u a t i o n i n which they can d i r e c t t h e i r own l e a r n i n g without having to c o n s i d e r the needs of a c l a s s , o t h e r s w i l l f i n d t h a t the lack of o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r i n t e r a c t i o n and d i s c u s s i o n i s d e t r i m e n t a l to t h e i r m o t i v a t i o n to continue and to succeed. Need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n i s a p e r s o n a l i t y c o n s t r u c t which d e s c r i b e s the s t r e n g t h of an i n d i v i d u a l ' s d e s i r e to e s t a b l i s h and maintain i n t e r p e r s o n a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s . It was o r i g i n a l l y advanced by Henry Murray i n 1938. People h i g h i n need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n have been found to i n s t i g a t e more communications with o t h e r s . Research a l s o suggests that students who are high i n need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n o b t a i n b e t t e r marks and are more s a t i s f i e d i n academic s i t u a t i o n s where there are more a f f i l i a t i v e cues and more o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r p e r s o n a l i n t e r a c t i o n . T h i s study was designed to e x p l o r e whether student-to-student i n t e r a c t i o n through small group telephone conferences would h e l p to reduce drop-out and 5 8 i n c r e a s e s a t i s f a c t i o n i n d i s t a n c e education programs and i f so, whether the p e r s o n a l i t y c o n s t r u c t need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n c o u l d be used to p r e d i c t those students who would most b e n e f i t from o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r a f f i l i a t i o n . Telephone i n t e r a c t i o n was chosen because i t seemed most a p p r o p r i a t e to the B r i t i s h Columbia s e t t i n g i n which l e a r n e r s are s c a t t e r e d over a wide geographic area and thus might f i n d i t d i f f i c u l t to i n t e r a c t by a c t u a l l y meeting t o g e t h e r . Student-to-student i n t e r a c t i o n was chosen as a focus because t h i s k i n d of i n t e r a c t i o n was most l i k e l y to be absent i n a d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n s e t t i n g . The r e s e a r c h hypotheses s t a t e d i n the n u l l form were: (1) the drop-out r a t e would not d i f f e r between a group of students p r o v i d e d with o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r a f f i l i a t i o n and a group which was not; (2) measures of s a t i s f a c t i o n would not d i f f e r between a group of students p r o v i d e d with o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r a f f i l i a t i o n and a group which was not; (3) there would be no d i f f e r e n c e in the performance of a group of students who were p r o v i d e d with o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r a f f i l i a t i o n and a group which was not; (4) the p e r s o n a l i t y c o n s t r u c t need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n would not be c o r r e l a t e d with student drop-out, student s a t i s f a c t i o n or student achievement. 59 Twenty-nine students who were e n r o l l e d - i n a d i s t a n c e education course on c h i l d development o f f e r e d by North I s l a n d C o l l e g e were the s u b j e c t s of the study. The i n i t i a l q u e s t i o n n a i r e c o n t a i n e d three s c a l e s from Jackson's P e r s o n a l i t y Research Form. Need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n was the s c a l e of most i n t e r e s t i n t h i s study. Two other s c a l e s r e l a t i n g to need f o r achievement and need f o r autonomy were i n c l u d e d so that the purpose of the study would not be obvious to the s u b j e c t s . There was a l s o a q u e s t i o n designed t o measure the l e v e l of i n i t i a l m o t i v a t i o n to complete the course. The f i n a l q u e s t i o n n a i r e c o n t a i n e d a L i k e r t - t y p e s c a l e designed to measure s a t i s f a c t i o n with the course. There were a l s o q u e s t i o n s r e l a t i n g to whether the students completed the course; whether they had i n s t i g a t e d any communications with other students; and whether they intended to r e g i s t e r f o r f u r t h e r d i s t a n c e education courses. At a l a t e r date course completions were checked and i n f o r m a t i o n was c o l l e c t e d on the students' marks and e d u c a t i o n a l background. A l l students i n the course were encouraged to c a l l the i n s t r u c t o r whenever they had a q u e s t i o n about the course. As w e l l the i n s t r u c t o r t r i e d to c a l l each student s e v e r a l times d u r i n g the three and a h a l f month 60 term. For members of the treatment group two of those c a l l s were small group telephone conference c a l l s i n v o l v i n g three or four other students u s u a l l y from the same r e g i o n . The st u d e n t s were i n t r o d u c e d to each other. They d i s c u s s e d a recent course t o p i c and were asked i f they had encountered any d i f f i c u l t i e s . The i n s t r u c t o r drew a t t e n t i o n to any common problems and encouraged the students to telephone each o t h e r . The c a l l was followed up wi t h a note from the i n s t r u c t o r c o n t a i n i n g the telephone numbers of the other students i n v o l v e d i n that c o n f e r e n c e c a l l . Members of the c o n t r o l group r e c e i v e d o n l y i n d i v i d u a l telephone c a l l s from the i n s t r u c t o r . Although 32 st u d e n t s o r i g i n a l l y v o l u n t e e r e d f o r the study, data on one of the students i n the treatment group had to be e l i m i n a t e d because she was not a v a i l a b l e at the time of the telephone c o n f e r e n c e . In the c o n t r o l group, data on two of the students were not used because the f i n a l q u e s t i o n n a i r e r e v e a l e d that they had been i n co n t a c t w i t h other students (not members of the c o n t r o l group) and c o u l d t h e r e f o r e not be c o n s i d e r e d to be r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of students i n an i s o l a t e d s i t u a t i o n . The f i r s t h y p o t h e s i s , that the drop-out r a t e would not d i f f e r between a group of students p r o v i d e d with o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r a f f i l i a t i o n and a group which was 61 not, was ac c e p t e d c o n d i t i o n a l l y . Only 2 out of the 15 students i n the treatment group dropped out while 7 out of the 14 students i n the c o n t r o l group f a i l e d to complete the course. The c h i square obtained when the drop-out r a t e s between the two groups were compared was 4.55 s i g n i f i c a n t at the p=.03 l e v e l . When a Yates c o r r e c t i o n f o r c o n t i n u i t y of curve was a p p l i e d because of the small numbers i n the sample, the c h i square dropped to 3.0 s i g n i f i c a n t at the p=.08 l e v e l . Although t h i s i s below the l e v e l of s t a t i s t i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e u s u a l l y sought i n the s o c i a l s c i e n c e s , an examination of the a c t u a l numbers and an i n f o r m a l look at the way the groups f u n c t i o n e d suggests that the treatment had an e f f e c t on the l e v e l of drop-out. The second h y p o t h e s i s , that measures of s a t i s f a c t i o n would not d i f f e r between a group of students p r o v i d e d with o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r a f f i l i a t i o n and a group which were not, was a l s o accepted. There were no s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s between the two groups as to l e v e l of s a t i s f a c t i o n as measured by the L i k e r t - t y p e s c a l e . Scores on the s c a l e were h i g h l y c o r r e l a t e d with the students' marks, r=.54, P=.01 and to a l e s s e r extent with course completion. T h i s suggests t h a t the student's s e l f - r a t e d l e v e l of s a t i s f a c t i o n with the d i s t a n c e education experience was i n f l u e n c e d by t h e i r marks which they obtained about the 62 time the f i n a l q u e s t i o n n a i r e was sent out. T h i s t h i r d hypothesis was that there would be no d i f f e r e n c e i n the performance of a group of students who were p r o v i d e d with o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r a f f i l i a t i o n and a group which were not. There were no s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s between the two groups as to marks obtained. T h i s may have been due to d i f f e r e n t i a l a t t r i t i o n and other f a c t o r s . The n u l l h y pothesis was accepted. The f o u r t h hypothesis was that the p e r s o n a l i t y c o n s t r u c t , need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n , would not be c o r r e l a t e d with student drop-out, student s a t i s f a c t i o n or student performance. The n u l l h ypothesis was accepted. When need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n was c o r r e l a t e d with student performance the r e s u l t was r = -.38, p=..1u. When c o r r e l a t i o n s were run s e p a r a t e l y f o r the treatment and c o n t r o l groups i t , appeared that much of the s t r e n g t h of the r e l a t i o n s h i p r e s u l t e d from data from students i n the c o n t r o l group where r=-.70, p=.08. In the treatment group r=-.11, p=.72. T h i s gave r i s e to the s p e c u l a t i o n that the e f f e c t s of the p e r s o n a l i t y c o n t r u c t , need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n , on performance might be moderated by the type of treatment i n v e s t i g a t e d here. When a student's need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n was met through o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r i n t e r a c t i o n with o t h e r s , t h i s c o n s t r u c t d i d not a f f e c t performance. When the need 63 was not met, there was a neg a t i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p with performance. F u r t h e r s t u d i e s of t h i s phenomenon would be necessary to c o n f i r m t h i s p a t t e r n . C o n c l u s i o n s Examination of the r e s u l t s suggests that the treatment may have had a p o s i t i v e e f f e c t on the drop-out r a t e . Only 2 of the 15 students i n the treatment group compared to 7 out of 14 students i n the c o n t r o l group dropped out. The i n i t i a l c h i square o b t a i n e d was 4.55 s i g n f i c a n t at the p=.03 l e v e l . With the Yates c o r r e c t i o n f o r c o n t i n u i t y made because of the small s i z e of the group, a c h i square of 3.0 with a s i g n i f i c a n c e l e v e l of p=.08 was ob t a i n e d . I t was not s u r p r i s i n g t h a t the scores of the students on a L i k e r t - t y p e s c a l e designed to measure s a t i s f a c t i o n with the d i s t a n c e education s i t u a t i o n a c t u a l l y seemed to r e f l e c t s a t i s f a c t i o n with the mark obt a i n e d i n the course. The f i n a l q u e s t i o n n a i r e was sent out at about the same time as the course marks. However one would have expected that the c o n t r o l group which had a 50 per cent drop-out r a t e would have been l e s s w i l l i n g to r e g i s t e r f o r f u r t h e r d i s t a n c e eduction c o u r s e s . The c o r r e l a t i o n s between need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n and the students' performance suggest that the p e r s o n a l i t y 64 c o n s t r u c t p l a y e d a r o l e i n student sucess. Higher need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n appears to be r e l a t e d to lower achievement. A d d i t i o n a l l y there seems to have been an i n t e r a c t i o n between t h i s c o n s t r u c t and the treatment. When the treatment and c o n t r o l groups were examined s e p a r a t e l y the c o r r e l a t i o n between student performance and need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n was s i g n i f i c a n t f o r the c o n t r o l group but not f o r the treatment group. T h i s suggests that the treatment may have moderated the a f f e c t s of the c o n t r u c t on student performance. Although the s u b j e c t s appeared to be s i m i l a r to the g e n e r a l p o p u l a t i o n of female psychology students i n North America, the s i z e of the sample and the f a c t that i t c o n s i s t e d e n t i r e l y of women allows g e n e r a l i z a t i o n of r e s u l t s only to other female d i s t a n c e l e a r n e r s i n B r i t i s h Columbia. Recommendations The r e s u l t s show t h a t the treatment group was d i f f e r e n t from the c o n t r o l group i n ra t e of drop-out j u s t short of s t a t i s t i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e . I t seems probable t h a t r e s u l t s from a l a r g e r group c o u l d have y i e l d e d s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s . With the evidence gathered, i t appears that o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r i n t e r a c t i o n among students should" be i n c l u d e d i n the d e s ign of d i s t a n c e education programs where 65 p o s s i b l e . Small group telephone conferences c o u l d be prov i d e d even when students are i s o l a t e d g e o g r a p h i c a l l y . If such group telephone c a l l s are to provide maximum b e n e f i t s to the students, some p r i o r i n f o r m a t i o n on group d i s c u s s i o n and networking might be u s e f u l . P r o v i s i o n of the telephone numbers of a l l students i n a g e o g r a p h i c a l area might f a c i l i t a t e i n t e r a c t i o n . In some courses i t might be p o s s i b l e to ask students to form s e l f - h e l p groups. It would be worthwhile to r e p l i c a t e the study with a l a r g e r number of students to c o n f i r m the trends apparent i n t h i s study. • F u r t h e r e x p l o r a t i o n of the r o l e that need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n and other p e r s o n a l i t y c o n s t r u c t s p l a y i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n , and of programs and a c t i v i t i e s which might moderate t h e i r e f f e c t s would be b e n e f i c i a l . 66 B i b l i o g r a p h y A t k i n s o n , J.W. & B i r c h , D. (1978). An i n t r o d u c t i o n to m o t i v a t i o n . New York: Van Nostrand. Baath, J.A. (1982). Teaching models f o r d e s i g n i n g courses c r e a t i v e l y . In J.S. D a n i e l , M.A. Stroud & J.R. 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E n c y c l o p a e d i a B r i t a n n i c a , 6, 317-319. Rosen, T. (1984). Communication and i n f o r m a t i o n t e c h n o l o g i e s i n Canadian U n i v e r s i t i e s . New  t e c h n o l o g i e s i n Canadian education Paper 4. Toronto: O n t a r i o E d u c a t i o n a l Communications A u t h o r i t y . SPSS Inc. (1983). SPSSX User' s Guide. New. York., NY: McGraw H i l l . T i n t o , V. (1975). Drop-out from higher e d u c a t i o n : a t h e o r e t i c a l s y n t h e s i s of recent r e s e a r c h . Review  of E d u c a t i o n a l Research, 45, 89-125. Waters, G. (1983). Learning from the Open U n i v e r s i t y : the l i m i t s of telecommunications . In L.N. Purdy (Ed.), Reaching new students through new  t e c h n o l o g i e s (pp. 260-266). Dubuque, LA: Kendall/Hunt. Whitlock, K. (1975) Study groups: Some follo w - u p p r o p o s a l s . Teaching at a D i s t a n c e , 3, 44-47. Woodley, A. & P a r l e t t , M. (1983). Student drop-out. Teaching at a D i s t a n c e , 24, 2-23. Yerbury, J.C. (1985, August). The Open U n i v e r s i t y  Consortium of B r i t i s h Columbia: What are the  i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r Simon F r a s e r U n i v e r s i t y ? Paper presented at the I n t e r n a t i o n a l C o u n c i l f o r Distance Education Conference, Melbourne, A u s t r a l i a . 72 A p p e n d i x A : I n i t i a l Q u e s t i o n n a i r e Q U E S T I O N N A I R E This questionnaire i s designed to measure student l i k e s and d i s l i k e s i n a p a r t i c u l a r area. There i s also a question r e l a t e d to why you are taking the course. Tour p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n t h i s study i s voluntary and w i l l not e f f e c t your grade, but i t w i l l a s s i s t us i n o b t a i n i n g information about designing e f f e c t i v e distance education courses. Returning t h i s completed questionnaire w i l l Indicate your agreement to p a r t i c i p a t e i n the study. You w i l l receive a f u r t h e r questionnaire at the end of the course. Once the study i s completed, those who p a r t i c i p a t e d w i l l be sent information on the f i n d i n g s of t h i s research p r o j e c t . A l l information w i l l be treated s t r i c t l y c o n f i d e n t i a l l y and names w i l l not be used. This questionnaire w i l l take about 15 minutes to complete. Please return i t w i t h your other course materials to Dr. Michael Catchpole. NAME PHONE ADDRESS Part A INSTRUCTIONS For some of you, the major reason f o r t a k i n g t h i s course i s your personal i n t e r e s t i n the subject area. For others, obtaining the course c r e d i t may be more important. Read the statement which follows. Then c i r c l e the number on a scale of one to f i v e which best r e f l e c t s your p o s i t i o n i n regard to that statement. Obtaining the c r e d i t f o r t h i s course i s very Important to my future career plans. S t r o n g l y 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Agree (2) Part B INSTRUCTIONS In t h i s part of the questionnaire you w i l l f i n d a s e r i e s of statements, some of which you might use to describe.yourself or your a t t i t u d e s . Read each statement and decide whether or not i t a p p l i e s to you. I f you agree with a statement, c i r c l e the T, which i n d i c a t e s that the statement i s g e n e r a l l y true f o r you. I f you disagree w i t h a statement, c i r c l e the F, i n d i c a t i n g that the statement i s generally f a l s e f o r you. Answer every statement e i t h e r true or f a l s e , even i f you are not completely sure of your answer. This Is not a t e s t . This p o r t i o n of the questionnaire measures a t t i t u d e s . Example When I get to a hard place i n my work I u s u a l l y —. stop and go back to i t l a t e r . CD ? I f your f i r s t r e a c t i o n to the statement was that I t g e n e r a l l y described you, you would c i r c l e the T. 1. I choose hobbles that I can share with other people. T F 2. People should be more involved with t h e i r work. T F 3. I f i n d that I can think b e t t e r when I have the advice of others. T F 4. I am quite Independent of the people I know. T F 5. I seldom set standards which are d i f f i c u l t f o r me to reach. T F 6. I d e l i g h t i n f e e l i n g unattached. T F 7. I enjoy d i f f i c u l t work. T F 8. I seldom put out extra e f f o r t to make f r i e n d s . T F 9. Family o b l i g a t i o n s make me f e e l important. T F 10. My l i f e i s f u l l of I n t e r e s t i n g a c t i v i t i e s . T F 11. I have r a r e l y done extra studying i n connection with my work. T F 12. I go out of my way to meet people. T F 13. People who t r y to regulate my conduct with rules are a bother. T F 14. I w i l l not be s a t i s f i e d u n t i l I am the best i n my f i e l d of work. T F 15. I don't r e a l l y have fun at large p a r t i e s . T F 16. I would f e e l l o s t and lonely roaming around the world alone. T F 17. •I t r y to work Just hard enough to get by. T F 18. People consider me to be qui t e f r i e n d l y . T F 19. I could l i v e alone and enjoy i t . T F 20. I would work j u s t as hard whether or not I had to earn a l i v i n g . T F 21. I would not be very good at a job which required me to meet people a l l day long. T F 7 5 (3) 22. I respect rules because they guide me. T P 23. I get along with people at p a r t i e a quite w e l l . T F 24. I do not l e t my work get i n the way of what I r e a l l y want to do. T F 25. I t r u l y enjoy myself at s o c i a l f unctions. T P 26. I would not mind l i v i n g i n a very lonely place. T F 27. My goal i s to do at l e a s t a l i t t l e b i t more than anyone e l s e . has done before. T P 28. Things with sugar i n them u s u a l l y taste sweet to me. T F 29. When I see someone I know from a distance, I don't go out of my way to say h e l l o . T F 30. Adventures where I am on my own are a l i t t l e f r i g h t e n i n g . T F 31. In my work I seldom do more than i s necessary. T F 32. I spend a l o t of time v i s i t i n g f r i e n d s . T F 33. I would l i k e to be alone and my own boss. T p 34. I o f t e n set goals that are very d i f f i c u l t to reach. T F 35. Sometimes I have to make a r e a l e f f o r t to be s o c i a b l e . T F 36. ' I l i k e to do whatever i s proper. T F 37. People seldom think of me as a hard worker. T F 38. My friendships are many. T F 39. I would l i k e to have a Job i n which I didn't have to answer to anyone. T y 40. My d a l l y l i f e includes many a c t i v i t i e s I d i s l i k e . T F 41. As a c h i l d I worked a long time f o r some of the things I earned. T F 42. I don't spend much of my time t a l k i n g with people I see every day. T F 43. I u s u a l l y t r y to share my problems with someone who can help me. T F 44. I t doesn't r e a l l y matter to me whether or not I become one of the best i n my f i e l d . X F 45. I t r u s t my friends completely. T P 46. I aa quite independent of the opinions of others. T F 47. I don't mind working while other people are having fun.' T F 48. Often I would rather be alone than with a group of f r i e n d s . T F 49. I don't want to be away from my family too much. T F 50. I am not r e a l l y very c e r t a i n what I want to do or how to go about doing i t . T F 51. I t r y to be In the company of friends as much a a p o s s i b l e . T F 52. My greatest desire i s to be independent and free. T F A p p e n d i x B : F i n a l Q u e s t i o n n a i r e 77 QUESTIONNAIRE NAME _ ADDRESS A. Please read Che fol l o w i n g statements. Then check the box which best represents your r e a c t i o n to to each. This i s not a course evaluation. The question Is designed to Improve'our understanding of your experience as a distance education student. Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 1. I f e l t . c o n f i d e n t that I was preparing my assignments as required. 2. I believe I would have done better i n a classroom s e t t i n g . 3. There was not enough student p a r t i c i p a t i o n . 4. I enjoyed the course. 5. I prefer t h i s method of learning. 6. I found the course materials d i f f i c u l t to understand. 7. I learned a l o t from t h i s course. 8. I f e l t somewhat Isolated during my studies. 9. I found I t d i f f i c u l t to stay motivated. 10. I would take another course that was taught t h i s way. 3 78 1. Were you able to complete the course? Yea No 2. I f you were not able to complete the course, what, was the main' reason? 1. Were you In contact with any other students In your course during your s t u d i e s ! Yen No _ _ I f you answered "yes" to the previous question, please continue w i t h questions 2, 3, and 4. I f you answered "no" simply move on to s e c t i o n D. 2. The students with whom I was i n contact were people with whoa I i ) was acquainted previously 11) became acquainted with during organized course a c t i v i t i e s i i i ) became acquainted with during the course through ay awn a c t i v i t i e s . Please describe. 3. Estimate the number of telephone c a l l s you i n i t i a t e d to other students. (In order to avoid having one c a l l reported by both of the people Involved, please provide an estimate of only those c a l l s i n which you made the i n i t i a l contact.) 1) 0 11) 1 to 3 I i i ) 4 to 6 i v ) 7 to 9 v) 10 or more 4. Estimate the number of meetings which you arranged with other students. (Again, i n order to avoid having one meeting reported by everyone Involved i n i t , please provide an estimate of only those meetings i n which i n i t i a t e d the contact.) i ) 0 i i ) 1 to 3 i l l ) 4 to 6 i v ) 7 to 9 v) 10 or more 1. Do you intend to r e g i s t e r f o r another distance education course i n the future? Yes No 2. Why? 79 3. E. I f you have any comments about the experience of being a diatance education student, please note thea i n the space provided below. A p p e n d i x C: D a t a C o l l e c t e d From S u b j e c t s 81 DATA COLLECTED FROM SUBJECTS Treatment Group Sub Ach Af f Aut Sat CC EB Per FR 101 10 10 06 44 1 5 82 1 102 1 3 08 04 68 1 1 90 -1 03 1 3 09 1 1 62 1 5 86 1 1 04 06 1 3 01 54 1 2 80 1 105 13 09 05 47 1 2 87 106 10 09 03 59 1 4 83 1 1 07 1 3 07 05 68 1 4 82 1 1 08 1 1 08 07 68 1 4 85 1 109 1 1 12 03 50 1 2 77 1 1 1 0 05 05 1 2 42 1 4 74 1 1 1 1 08 1 2 04 60 1 5 85 1 1 1 2 03 15 07 51 1 5 77 1 1 1 3 1 3 09 01 50 1 1 72 1 1 1 4 10 13 04 44 2 1 — 2 1 1 5 1 2 02 08 56 2 1 1 C o n t r o l Group 201 1 0 04 10 70 1 5 93 i 202 10 08 06 68 2 1 -- 1 203 05 14 01 54 1 2 73 1 204 15 10 02 49 1 4 92 1 205 1 4 1 1 07 52 2 4 1 206 1 1 08 1 1 50 1 3 85 1 207 10 1 1 02 54 1 4 82 1 208 06 10 04 42 1 4 73 1 209 09 08 09 36 1 4 _ _ . -210 06 08 08 58 2 2 -- 1 21 1 04 12 09 50 1 4 87 1 212 10 10 03 52 2 2 1 213 1 1 12 08 36 2 5 — 2 214 10 03 13 30 2 2 — 2 Sub=Subject Ach=Score on need f o r achievement s c a l e Aff=Score on need f o r a f f i l i a t i o n s c a l e Aut=Score on need f o r autonomy s c a l e Sat=Score on s a t s i f a c t i o n s c a l e CC=Course completion EB=Educational background Per=Performance as measured by mark in course FR=Intention to r e g i s t e r for f u r t h e r courses 

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