Volume 53(3) - 2012 - DOI: 10.5032/jae.2012.03098



Student demand and budget shortages have influenced the need for land–grant institutions to offer online courses. Research has identified that online courses broaden the reach of land–grant institutions to students who may not have access to campus. Literature indicated student satisfaction in online courses should be routinely assessed in order to potentially improve online course delivery. This study was framed with the motivational needs theory and social presence theory. The purpose of this study was to measure students' perceptions of the learning environment, social presence, and satisfaction in online courses. An electronic survey was implemented using the Tailored Design Method to collect the data. Learning environment was correlated with social presence, and learning environment and social presence were significant effects on students' satisfaction p < .05. Learning environment and social presence accounted for 26% of the variance in students' satisfaction with eLearning courses. Including social media tools in eLearning courses, may assist students enhance their social presence in the respective course. Designing types of assignments that involve collaboration among students, and instituting authentic learning experiences that align with student interests, will improve students' social presence, the learning environment and student satisfaction in eLearning courses.

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