Abstract

This study identified the perceptions and experiences of adult students’ successes, barriers, and motivations in their art programs. The study adapted a mixed methodology that combined a quantitative descriptive survey and phenomenological qualitative interviews through the use of semistructured questions. The survey consisted of 27 questions to compare perceived self-proficiency to motivation and intention to continue. A second goal of the survey compared perceived quality of instruction to motivation and intention to continue in the programs.

Results from the survey indicated that the students’ level of proficiency in use of the computer software and hardware is not a critical factor in online programs. Another finding was that art students feel that if they are receiving quality instruction, they are more likely to continue in their programs. The results from the 10 interviews identified the most important major themes:

(a) the ability to work independently helps online art students to feel more successful,

(b) the ability to assimilate new technology quickly encourages online art students to feel more successful,

(c) the ability to consistently improve their drawing skills through practice allows online art students to become more successful,

(d) the desire to improve one’s life motivates online art students to continue in their online art programs,

(e) the desire to improve their career motivated online art students to continue, and

(f) the ability to work at home and at one’s own convenience was a motivation to enroll in an online program.

Among the recommendations are the following:

(a) online art students should take the initiative to learn the required software quickly and effectively without much assistance;

(b) online art students should develop self-sufficiency in their online art courses by asking frequent questions;

(c) online art instructors should strive to provide frequent and substantial feedback to students;

(d) instructors could also prepare themselves better in the use of the required course software;

(e) online art schools should consider 24-hour technical support; and

(f) online art schools should consider offering multiple tracks to better accommodate the needs of a wider range of students’ schedules.

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