With recent increases in online enrollment, undergraduate students are far more likely to experience an online learning environment than they were in the past. While existing literature provides general insight into reasons why students may or may not prefer online instruction, it is unclear whether these preferences are shaped by student’s perceptions of online learning or actual experience with online courses. To address this gap, undergraduate students enrolled in either online (n=370) or face-to-face (n=360) courses were surveyed about their course format preference. A content analysis of the responses was performed with the findings suggesting that 1) student perceptions may be based on old typologies of distance education akin to correspondence courses, regardless of actual experience with online courses, and 2) course preferences are related to issues involving teaching presence and self-regulated learning. The implications of this research for developing more effective online pedagogy are discussed.

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