Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Wired and engaged?: Student engagement in online learning at the community college level
by Lerma, Maria del Pilar, Ed.D., California State University, Long Beach, 2010, 179; 3472523
Abstract (Summary)

Over the past 10 years, higher education has experienced dramatic changes due to online instruction, especially at community colleges. It is important to recognize the role of the college in the implementation of online techniques and strategies that can serve to engage students effectively in the online learning environment. However, very little is known about student engagement in online learning at the community college level.

The present study is a replication of Robinson's 2006 study on student engagement at the 4-year university level, which used a modified NSSE survey instrument. The purpose of this study was to measure the level of student engagement in online learning at the community college level and to determine if there was any relationship between engagement factors and student satisfaction with the institution in which the online course was taken through four NSSE benchmarks. Additionally, this study analyzed to what extent were the factors of gender, age, and dependent care related to student engagement in the online learning environment. The participants in this study were 465 students enrolled in an online course at one of three community colleges in a multi-college district in a suburb of Southern California.

A combined theoretical framework using Chickering and Gamson's Seven Principles for Good Practice and Kearsley and Shneiderman's Engagement Theory was chosen as the lens by which to examine and analyze the literature on methods and strategies used to engage students in the online learning environment.

The data were analyzed through multiple quantitative methods—descriptive statistics, multiple regression analysis, and 2 x 2 x3 factorial ANOVAs. The findings indicate higher than average levels of engagment and that student satisfaction with the community college in which the online course was taken in was positively correlated with three benchmarks. Finally, age was found to have a significant interaction with two benchmarks.

Findings from this type of research may aid instructors and institutions on how best to develop and offer their online courses. Recommendations include ongoing research in online learning because of its continuously evolving nature. Areas for future research include replication in urban and rural areas.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kim, Simon
School: California State University, Long Beach
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 72/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Community college education, Pedagogy, Educational technology
Keywords: Distance learning, Online learning, Student engagement
Publication Number: 3472523
ISBN: 978-1-124-85702-2
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