In line with recently developing technology, distant education systems based on information technologies are started to be commonly used within higher education. Students’ satisfaction is one of the vital aspects in order to maintain distant education efficiently and achieving its goal. As a matter of the fact, previous studies proved that student satisfaction is one of the most important factors in deciding the success of a system in terms of application. Therefore, this paper analyzes satisfaction variables of distant education computer programming students regarding this program as well as their clustering tendencies. 96 students who were having their majors in distant education computer programming at Karadeniz Technical University during 2012-2013 academic term constitute the sample of the study. The study employed Satisfaction Scale for Students of Distant education Based on Information Technologies as data collection tool which comprised of 42 items. Data obtained from the scale was analyzed via Ward method, one of the hierarchical clustering methods, in order to reveal their clustering tendencies. Accordingly, satisfaction variables were divided into three main clusters which were A, B and C. Of these main clusters, it was seen that A and B has two sub-clusters each which were A1, A2 and B1, B2 respectively. These divisions were named after the variables they include; A1: “Interest of the instructors and the implementation of program content”, A2: “Support and rapport of the university”, B1: “Scope of the program”, B2: “Individuality and the opportunity for interaction” and C: “The defects in application by both the program and the university”. From an overall perspective, it is seen that Cluster A covers variables positively affecting the satisfaction which are “the quality of service provided by the university for this program”, “application of program content fitting to the purpose” and “teachers’ dealing with students properly”. It is seen that Cluster B covers variables positively affecting satisfaction in terms of program scope, individuality and interactive environment. Finally, it is seen that Cluster C covers variables negatively affecting satisfaction which are about the defects in the application both by the program and the university.
Distance Education, Online Learning Environment, Clustering Analysis, Students’ Satisfaction.