Emalinda L. McSpadden, Assistant Professor, Social Sciences Department, Bronx Community College.
Students take fully online courses for various reasons, ranging from time constraints that keep them from attending classes in person, to feeling that the structure and ease of access of an online class might make participation somehow less difficult than attending a physical classroom. It is unclear if students weigh their understandings of themselves as thinkers and learners in making these decisions, or if their extant perceptions of themselves play any role at all. The purpose if this research is to explore whether the self-perceptions of students are not only relevant to overall online course performance, but also to positive or negative student experiences of those courses. Students in online course sections were asked to reflect on and respond to questions about self-perceptions related to study habits, self-motivation, self-discipline, communication, learning style, and adaptability. Qualitative analysis of student answer data produced convergent themes that provide new insights about the experience of being a students in online courses.