Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Computer and Information Science
There are numerous difficulties associated with evaluating student experience of online curriculum, not least of which is the fact that different research methods elicit different types of information. The usefulness of choosing either quantitative or qualitative methods depends on their power to bear upon the research questions. This concept paper presents the learning experience as a qualitative event and argues that the in-depth interview is an apt tool for discovering to what extent students experience deep-learning in studying online subjects. To this end, this concept paper will consider the literature surrounding the in-depth interview as a research method. It will look at why interviews are used, what characterises an in-depth interview, the strengths and weaknesses of the method, and how interviewer skill and technique affects data quality. This paper argues that using in-depth interviews as part of a mixed method approach to evaluation strengthens the picture of what type of learning occurred and at what levels. This in turn leads to further ideas of how online subjects can be modified to enhance deep learning and so ensure continuing quality of educational practice at tertiary level.