Demographic Characteristics of Synchronous Online Learners: A Quantitative Study

This presentation will discuss data from a two-year study of nontraditional students who chose to meet synchronously online with a writing center consultant rather than meet face-to-face.  Consultations were hosted using Elluminate, allowing even dial-up students to meet, talk, chat, and application share with a consultant.  The study tracks the program’s progress from its inception and takes an in-depth look at online client demographics, the reason(s) clients elect to meet online, and client perceptions of the online conferencing experience.

Approximately one week after their conference, writing center clients were sent an online survey designed to answer the following questions: 1)Are there significant demographic differences between the f2f and online clients? 2) Why do writing center clients choose to use an online service? 3)Are there significant differences in how f2f and online clients perceive their conferencing experience? Data was collected from 279 writing center clients via e-mail surveys – 189 f2f clients and 90 online clients – coded, and then analyzed using SPSS analysis software.