Development of student and academic staff perceptions of the elements of an online learning environment over time

  • Stuart Palmer Deakin University
  • Dale Holt Deakin University


Academic staff play a fundamental role in the use of online learning environments (OLEs) by students, yet studies investigating the perspectives of staff are limited, and the least common investigations are those comparing the relative perceptions of students and staff.  Many OLE evaluations present a point-in-time snapshot of the system, but extended evaluation of OLE usage is required to reveal the detail in the evolution of system use.  The data from a large, repeated cross-sectional and quantitative survey of university students and staff were analysed.  Drawing on 4680 survey responses over the period 2004–2011, it was found that:

  • both student and staff mean ratings of importance and satisfaction suggest an increasingly positive engagement with the OLE over time;
  • virtually all mean ratings of satisfaction, and many of the mean ratings of importance, for students were higher than for staff, supporting the view in the literature that students have a more positive attitude than staff toward OLE use; and
  • the general trend was a reduction in the magnitude of the differences between students and staff between 2004 and 2011.

More fine-grained analyses of the differences observed for individual elements of the OLE are also reported.



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Author Biographies

Stuart Palmer, Deakin University

Associate Professor

Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment

Dale Holt, Deakin University

Associate Professor

Faculty of Business and Built Law