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The purpose for this research was to determine whether small classes are more conducive for learning than the larger ones used mostly in online courses. It was to look the views on the size of the classes for the online courses where students interact at various levels.
The researcher thought this was an important case of study because it was always assumed that for each of the online courses always have different interactive qualities. It was thus important to determine an conducive size for the classes taking into consideration the interactive qualities that are in these courses offered online
This research was to be of benefit to the students registered for distance learning in the online courses, as they would have a more conducive learning environment. Thus, this research will help in the policy development for the institutions when it came to the limit for class size in the online courses.
Reviewing of the literature in a research study is important in getting the facts right for the introduction when presenting ones findings. The literature review usually enables the reader to have clear background information to understand what is being presented by a researcher and the importance of that study.
The author presents his purpose for this study, stating it in the Review of the literature. The goal was to look into the previous suggestions that interaction is affected by the class size. The study was to look at the perceptions of the instructors responsible for the administration of online courses about optimal class sizes, and how this perceptions influence interaction in online courses.
The purpose statement of the study was followed by research questions that were posed. These questions were about; what the instructors' view of the class size for online courses were, what the common class sizes for online courses were and what the common levels for interactive qualities in the courses were.
For the collection of data in this research, a Web-based survey research method was used. A Class Size and Interaction Questionnaire (CSIQ), was convenient. It was web based and was distributed to the participants online.
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This study research had varied data that was more than one. The first participants included the faculty members who teach college level online. The others were a group of national renowned researchers who were in the field of distant education.
The data collected from the surveyor was analyzed by first being input to a spread sheet. This was then input in a SPSS Student version 7 program, in order to get descriptive statistics.
In the analysis of the levels of interactive courses online, almost all online courses were very interactive. They had no much variance in their qualities. This conclusion was drawn from the findings. Results from most of CSIQ showed that most participants felt their courses had a amazing interactive level. 65.6% felt this, and only 32.8% did not. The standard deviation of the levels when it came to interactions was 3.8 thus the conclusion.
In the analysis of the instructors' perception of optimal class sizes (OCS) for online courses with levels of interactive qualities that were not similar, it was concluded that most participants felt that a smaller OCS was needed. This was preferred to the actual class size (CS). It allowed for high levels of interactive qualities in their online courses. The data supported this conclusion by indicating that, an averagely OCS of 18.9 should be smaller than the actual CS of 22.8. This data showed a positive correlation of r= .79 separating CS and OCS. This was as opposed to the negative r=-18 that was separating the interactive level and OCS. A more detailed data showed that 23% of the participants felt that an OCS should be bigger than a CS. Based on this, it cannot be really stated that higher interactive courses need small classes.
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