Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2011

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Teaching and Learning

First Advisor

Everson, Michael Erwin

Second Advisor

Wesely, Pamela M

First Committee Member

Alessi, Stephen

Second Committee Member

Otto, Sue

Third Committee Member

Plakans, Lia


The purpose of this mixed methods study was to explore the relationship between autonomy, student-instructor dialogue, and student satisfaction within a web-based distance Russian language course. Forty six (46) students from two US higher education institutions participated in this study. Using an Exploratory Model with the elements of an Explanatory Model (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2007), the qualitative and quantitative data were collected at the middle and at the end of the course to provide thorough investigation of the three variables, to reveal their interactions with each other, and to discover whether these variables and their relationship change over time. Qualitative data were used to explore the aforementioned constructs, and to enhance the instrument tested in the subsequent quantitative phase. An additional quantitative phase at the end of the course, and follow-up qualitative interviews were provided to discover the changes that occurred in the main variables and in their relationships throughout the course. Content analysis was utilized for the interviews, while reliability (Cronbach alpha) analysis, correlational analysis, t-test, and non-parametric Wilcoxon and sign test were used for the data analysis of the surveys. Findings revealed that autonomy, dialogue, and satisfaction have significant correlation at the beginning and the middle point of the course. All three variables grew throughout the course, however the relationships among them significantly decreased towards the end of the course. The conclusions include suggestions and implications for teachers, students, and course developers.


autonomy, distance learning, foreign language, Russian, student-instructor dialogue, transactional distance


xiii, 269 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 251-269).


Copyright 2011 Marina V Kostina