Studying Online: Student Motivations and Experiences in ALA-Accredited LIS Programs

Fatih Oguz, Clara M. Chu, Anthony S. Chow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a large scale study of online MLIS students (n = 910), who completed at least one online course and were enrolled in 36 of the 58 ALA-accredited MLIS programs in Canada and the United States. The results indicate that the typical student is female, White, lives in an urban setting, and is in her mid-30s. Online students were found to be quite diverse, with statistically significant differences in their preferences and satisfaction across five demographic variables: age (generational cohort), employment status, urban status, commute distance, and program modality. Three motivations emerged: accommodation, predisposition, and selectivity, which influenced the respondents to choose online learning. The prevalent issues online MLIS students experienced were a sense of isolation from peers and instructors, and a lack of professional development and networking opportunities with peers. The findings have implications for enhancing MLIS online education including marketing, course offerings, and student support services.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-231
JournalJournal of Education for Library and Information Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


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