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Self-regulated learning in distance education course design: Student perceptions of embedded strategies

This dissertation identified components of online course design that students noted helped them engage in self-regulating behaviors. The study utilized a qualitative grounded theory methodology and employed a think-aloud method for observations. A total of 48 Central Valley California community college students who were enrolled in at least one online course completed an observation, either through a live video conference, through a self-recording, or through a written journal. Participants were enrolled in a mock online course designed either with guidelines from the California Virtual Campus – Online Education Initiative rubric, the Community of Inquiry framework, or none. They were then given a series of tasks through the observation and were asked to verbally narrate their thoughts while completing the tasks. Four themes emerged during the coding process, which employed the constant comparative method: metacognitive strategies, perceptions of the community, perceptions of the instructor, and strategies for being successful. In response to student perceptions of self-regulated learning and course design, students referred to components related to having a course schedule and clearly labelled assignments; easy to find instructor contact and help information; activities to engage in peer interaction; and scaffolded assignments with regular check-ins. In response to areas of course design to help them be successful, students referred to having clear due dates and grading criteria; instructor presence; and consistent navigation.