The Impact of Remote-Site Group Size on Student Satisfaction and Relative Performance in Interactive Telecourses

Paul M. Biner
Kimberly D. Welsh
Natalie M. Barone
Marcia Summers
Raymond S. Dean


Undergraduate college students in seventeen live, interactive telecourses at sixty-eight remote sites were asked to report their satisfaction with various facets of their telecourses, as well as their overall satisfaction with the courses. In addition, an index of relative performance was calculated for each student in which achievement in the current telecourse was compared to prior overall academic achievement. Results showed that remote-site group size (i.e., the number of individuals taking a course at a given site) significantly predicted satisfaction with all facets of the courses, overall satisfaction with the courses, and relative performance. Students attending class sessions with fewer students reported being more satisfied with the courses and were more likely to perform at levels exceeding their previous academic performance than students attending the sessions with a greater number of students. Practical and theoretical implications of these results are discussed.



This study considers student satisfaction and motivation as important outcome variables in tele-education literature. Previous studies suggest that remote-site group ( the number of students enrolled in a class in a given location) have an influence in student satisfaction and motivation. Yet, the causal direction of this is yet to be established. The current study conducted attitudinal assessment (TEQ) on 288 undergraduate students from 17 telecourses in midwestern universities. TEQ consists of five-point likert-scale questions that are designed to measure various aspects of telecourses. The result of zero-order correlations indicated negative correlation between the size of remote-site group and facet of telecourse satisfaction (e.g. instructor, technology, course management etc.) as well as overall course satisfaction. The second analysis that regressed on their performance indices that was computed by subtracting students’ overall GPA from telecourse final grade. The result implies that students attended class sessions with many other peers exhibit enhanced course performance. These negative relationships between remote-group size and satisfaction and performance suggest that uninvolved and isolated learning environment could benefit students in telecourses.

APA Citation

Biner, P. M., Welsh, K. D., Barone, N. M., Summers, M., & Dean, R. S. (1997). The impact of remote-site group size on student satisfaction and relative performance in interactive telecourses. American Journal of Distance Education, 11(1), 23-33.

About the Study

Links to Article
Mode Online
Publication Type Book
In Publication The American Journal of Distance Education
Type of Research Quantitative
Research Design Survey research (qualitative or quantitative)
Intervention/Areas of Study Student motivation
Level of Analysis Student-level
Specific Populations Examined Undergraduates
Peer-Reviewed Yes
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest Bachelors-granting
Specific Course or Program Characteristics Other
Outcome Variables of Interest Academic achievement or performance, including assessment scores and course grades, Satisfaction
Student Sample Size 200-299
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