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Marketing Research Individual Assignment and Perceptions of Online Learning.

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The contemporary operations of highereducation institutions (HEIs) have toan extent ceased to enjoy the relativeautonomy and the geographicmonopolies that predominated in thepast. Preceding these changes arevarious environmental factors thathave altered the way HEIs operate. Forexample, the increasing competitivework culture in many developedeconomies and the aging populationhave decreased the potential number ofprospective students; and federal andstate education cutbacks have led toincreasing competitiveness between institutions for over two decades (Dolinsky and Quazi,1994). Over the las...

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The contemporary operations of highereducation institutions (HEIs) have toan extent ceased to enjoy the relativeautonomy and the geographicmonopolies that predominated in thepast. Preceding these changes arevarious environmental factors thathave altered the way HEIs operate. Forexample, the increasing competitivework culture in many developedeconomies and the aging populationhave decreased the potential number ofprospective students; and federal andstate education cutbacks have led toincreasing competitiveness between institutions for over two decades (Dolinsky and Quazi,1994). Over the last decade or so, a new type of HEI has begun to emerge, being enabled mostsignificantly by technological advances through the Internet. These technologicaldevelopments have added a new competitive dimension with the emergence of two distinctivetrends; the increased use of e-learning mechanisms by traditional HEIs, and businessesspecializing in Internet based learning solutions (Allen and Seaman, 2008). The implementation of an e-learning strategy holds several obvious advantages for HEIs. Itimproves the financial standing of the HEI through the reduction of both variable andinfrastructure costs, provides a source of differentiation and competitive advantage, providesglobal reach, adds another communication and feedback channel in student-HEI interactions,and potentially increase student satisfaction through the reduction of class sizes and thusimproving service performance. As can be appreciated, the benefits of an e-learning strategyto HEIs are manifold, and have led many HEIs to invest significant resources and effort to itssuccessful deployment. In recent years, e-learning has experienced phenomenal growth and has evolved from beingan alternative mode of study for distance education students to become one of the main modesof delivery employed by HEIs in the broader ecology of blended learning. The flexibilitybrought about by e-learning had initially presented HEIs an opportunity to expand theirmarket bases both nationally and internationally in the bid to remain competitive (Binsardiand Ekwulugo, 2003; Ivy, 2001), and increasingly HEIs are now extending their use of thesetechnologies to include the utilization of interactive Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis, socialmedia and virtual worlds in virtual learning environments (VLEs) that further liberatethemselves from the spatial constraints of their ‘brick and mortar’ campus. For example, notlong after the first release of the iPad in 2010, the iPad had quickly gained popularity withboth faculty and students who use the device to access VLEs such as BlackboardTM andMoodleTM for course learning resources, contribute to online blogs and reflective journals,and attend virtual classrooms facilitated by platforms such as ElluminateTM. Thesetechnologies and their “apps” are continually evolving, and the use of social media such asFacebook have shown potential in building an enthusiasm for learning and a sense ofcommunity within the student cohort (English and Duncan-Howell, 2008; McLoughlin andLee, 2008). ASSIGNMENT QUESTIONS UsetheSPSSdatasetandtheattachedquestionnaire(both available on Blackboard under the “Assignments” folder) toanswerthefollowingquestions: Question 1) Use descriptive statistics to analyse the demographic variablesand comment on the representativeness of the sample. (approx. 200 words) Question 2) Use descriptive statistics and graphs to aid your discussion on what the surveyed students think about fully online units.(approx. 200 words, plus graphs) (Hint:relates to Section 1 of the questionnaire). Question 3) Using inferential statistics, determine if and whatdifferent demographic groups think differently about fully online units. (approx.300 words, plus graphs) (Hint: compare demographic groups’ responses to Section 1) Question 4) What is the purpose ofconducting a factor analysis? (approx. 150 words) Perform a factor analysis on section 2 of the questionnaire and present your findings.Comment on any insights gained from this analysis. (approx.300words) Question 5) Perform another factor analysis, this time on section 3 of the questionnaire. Present your findings and commenton any insights gained from this analysis (approx.300 words). Instructions: Use the discussion in the “Perceptions of Online Learning” case background to aid / support your answers. All responses to the above questions must be fully supported by data analysis tables, charts, orgraphs, even when not explicitly stated in the question. Remember, interpreting and communicating findings is the most important component of this research. Be clear, succinct, and use tables or charts where possible. It may be helpful to think about the implications for industry gained from your findings, how this may influence the marketing mix (4 P’s), what this means for consumers, etc. Direct presentation of unformatted SPSS tables will be penalised.Data tables must be summarised and formatted in a reader-friendly, aesthetically pleasing manner. Ensure visual aids are colour-coded, titled, labelled, have legends / keys, supporting numerics, etc. This study attempts to identify how students perceive online learning at Curtin BusinessSchool, which includes both students from the undergraduate and postgraduate programs, tofind out their views on online learning. Students are surveyed on three areas of onlinelearning - their perception, the importance of the type of environment and the helpfulness oftools used for fully online units. A self-administered questionnaire was used for datacollection. The target population for the study was CBS students of any age and gender andbased on the assumption that all students understand, read and write in English and that theywere honest while completing the survey. The sample size of our survey was 227 respondents with 226 completed valid responses after data editing.

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