New Benchmarks in Higher Education: Student engagement in online learning

Chin Choo Robinson
Hallett Hullinger


The increase in the adoption of Internet-related technologies for online learning has been accompanied by a parallel, but separate, demand for greater accountability in higher education. Measures of student engagement offer valuable indicators of educational quality, yet have been limited to use in on-campus settings. The authors used key engagement dimensions that the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) defined to measure student engagement in online courses from 3 universities. Online students were modestly engaged in selected NSSE dimensions and had a pattern of engagement that differed from on-campus students.


Online education, Online learning, Student engagement


Students were required to complete an online self-administered questionnaire relating to their experiences as students in online learning environments. The instrument was a modified version of the well established NSSE survey, the widely accepted research initiative to assess student learning through measuring the level of engagement.
multicourse and multiuniversity strategy
Provides recommendations for how to increase student engagement in online learning including: technological innovations, curriculum design, student participation in online class presentations ,The online curriculum should actively engage students through challenging academic rigor, consistent and timely student-faculty interaction, a collaborative learning environment, and activities that enrich the development of the student.
Provides a framework for graduate student level of engagement can be studied.

APA Citation

Robinson, C. C., & Hullinger, H. (2008). New benchmarks in higher education: Student engagement in online learning. Journal of Education for Business, 84(2), 101-109.

About the Study

Links to Article
Mode Online
Publication Type Journal Article
In Publication Journal of Education for Business
Type of Research Quantitative
Research Design Survey research (qualitative or quantitative)
Intervention/Areas of Study Engagement
Level of Analysis Student-level
Specific Populations Examined Undergraduates
Peer-Reviewed Yes
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest
Specific Course or Program Characteristics
Outcome Variables of Interest
Student Sample Size 200-299
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