Factors Associated With Attitudes Toward Learning in an Online Environment: Transactional Distance, Technical Efficacy, and Physical Surroundings

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

Thomas Lipscomb

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research


This study examines the relationship between a student's environment in an online course and their academic achievement. This study surveyed students who completed world literature classes in an online format that were part of their universities' general education curricula. Students responded to items assessing several constructs and personal demographic variables that together defined their learning environments: content, delivery, assessment and feedback, technical support, learner experience with technology, learner experience with distance learning, interaction, phys physical space, support network, characteristics of adult learners, and major. Academic achievement was the dependent variable and was defined as anticipated grade in the course. Using Spearman correlations, Mann-Whitney tests, and Multinominal Regression, the independent variables and constructs were analyzed for their relationship to the dependent variable. Interaction, physical space and major showed positive correlations with anticipated grade. In ancillary findings, all independent variables were found to have positive correlations with respondents' perceptions of having learned the course content.