Online Student Orientation in Higher Education: A developmental study

Moon Cho


Although orientation for online students is important to their success, little information about how to develop an online student orientation (OSO) has appeared in the literature, therefore, the purpose of this article was to describe the entire process of developing an OSO. This article describes the analysis, design, development, and evaluation phases of the OSO in higher education. The orientation consists of four modules titled as follows: (a) What is the nature of online learning? (b) How to learn in Blackboard (c) What are the technical requirements to take an online course? and (d) What learning skills and motivations are necessary for online learning? Formative evaluation was conducted to improve the initially developed OSO program. Summative evaluation showed the OSO program can be useful for future online students. Discussion and future direction of OSO program are provided.


Online student orientation, Online learning, Distance education


This article described the entire process of developing an online student orientation that contained four modules: A) What is the nature of online learning B) How to learn in Blackboard C) What are the technical requirements to take an online course? And D) What learning skills and motivations are necessary for online learning? A formative evaluation and a summative evaluation was done. The results show that students valued the Online Student Orientation program that was developed.
● Online student evaluation consisted of 28 questions with a 5-point Likert scale. Students evaluated six aspects of the Online Student Orientation program, including navigation, content, accessibility, design and development, understanding, and satisfaction. And then two open-ended statements.
● Students came from two online faculty members who sent emails to students and posted on Blackboard (study does not give a total number of students who participated).
● Results showed that students valued the program.
● 24 students answered the first open ended question and seemed most satisfied with the content and navigation.
● Further Research Directions: comparing two groups of students, one that received the online orientation and the other that didn’t. Compare retention rate, struggles, achievement, and satisfaction with the online course.

APA Citation

Cho, M. H. (2012). Online student orientation in higher education: A developmental study. Educational Technology Research and Development, 60(6), 1051-1069.

About the Study

Links to Article
Mode Online
Publication Type Journal Article
In Publication Educational Technology Research and Development
Type of Research Mixed methods
Research Design Survey research (qualitative or quantitative)
Intervention/Areas of Study Student support
Level of Analysis Student-level
Specific Populations Examined
Peer-Reviewed Yes
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest
Specific Course or Program Characteristics
Outcome Variables of Interest Satisfaction
Student Sample Size 0-99
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