Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Study of the Relationship Between Distance Learners' Perception of the Value of Student Support Services and a Sense of Belonging in the University's Learning Community
by Emmanuel-Frenel, Rouseline, Ed.D., Gwynedd Mercy University, 2017, 149; 10622513
Abstract (Summary)

This study asked two primary questions: (1) to what extent do distance learners find value in student support services; and (2) is there a relationship between the value placed on student support services and students’ sense of belonging in the university’s learning community? Value was defined as the frequency of use, importance, and satisfaction with student support services.

The participants in the study were drawn from undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in one or more online courses in a Catholic University in Pennsylvania’s accelerated adult learning program. These students were taking at least 80 percent of their formal instruction online, and were enrolled in the spring and/or summer sessions of 2016.

The research was conducted using a quantitative correlation research design. The variable of value in student support services was measured using a web-based survey assessing the respondents’ frequency of use, perceived importance, and satisfaction with 14 student support services. The variable of online students’ feelings of connection to the wider university community was measured using the Social Connectedness subscale of the Campus Connectedness Scale. To examine the relationships between the perceived value of student support services and respondents’ sense of belonging, a Pearson correlation coefficient was computed for total use of support services, total perceived importance of support services, and total satisfaction with the total sense of belonging scores.

The findings revealed a positive correlation between the extent that distance learners used and were satisfied with the student support services and the students’ sense of belonging in the learning community. However, sense of belonging did not significantly correlate with the perceived importance item. The combined results of this study demonstrate that online learners use and satisfaction with student support services had a positive impact on these students’ sense of engagement and belonging in the institution as a whole.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Jacobson, Lea
Commitee: Gao, Jing, Hayward, Dawn, Sorcinelli, Mary Deane
School: Gwynedd Mercy University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 79/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration, Educational leadership, Higher education
Keywords: Colleges and universities, Distance education, Persistence, Retention, Sense of belonging, Student support services
Publication Number: 10622513
ISBN: 978-0-355-21958-6
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