Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Douglas Bock


A group of distance education students at four Illinois colleges and universities were studied to see if sending class students rated distance education instructors differently in reference to credibility when compared to receiving class students. A survey was used to gather initial data and then subjects were interviewed by telephone to obtain more information on the topic. The results of the study revealed no significant difference between how students at receiving sites and how students at sending sites perceived an instructor in terms of overall credibility in distance education courses. Responses indicated that students did not have a problem with distance education instructors for the most part, but many of them had problems with the interactive process of the courses. These problems led to many difficulties in the learning process. Responses also showed students to be very abstract in creating criteria for worthless or valuable traditional classroom instructors and worthless or valuable distance education instructors. Future research needs to use a narrower operational definition of teacher credibility that factors in the setting of the classroom. A more focused definition will allow for a truer representation of perceived instructor credibility within the distance education classroom. Future research that is more focused needs to be conducted on this topic in order to confirm or reject the findings of this study. Future studies would also be very helpful in the upgrading, design, and implementation of new equipment to alleviate currently existing problems.