Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Relationships between student characteristics and student persistence in online classes at a community college
by Rodriguez, Vincent P., Ed.D., California State University, Long Beach, 2011, 147; 3485377
Abstract (Summary)

California Community College online enrollments are increasing significantly and colleges are being held accountable for online course persistence rates that are generally lower than traditional classroom persistence rates. As a result, community colleges need to gain a better understanding of why students are dropping out of online classes at a higher rate than students in traditional classroom courses. This study is secondary analysis of pre-existing data collected by a California community college. A cross-sectional design uses descriptive statistics, t-test, factor analysis, and logistic regression to identify differences between persisters and non-persisters, reliable factors that capture the online student experience, and variables or factors that may be used for predicting student persistence in online classes. By analyzing these data, this study may assist funding agencies, governing boards, and colleges in development of policy and practice to improve online persistence rates.

Results show positive influences on online course persistence at this college are related to students' background characteristics and prior educational performance. Negative influences are primarily related to finance, socioeconomic factors, and being Black or African American, or Mexican or Mexican American. Non-persisters report more frequent use of college services and have higher perceived importance for college services than persisters. One of the most important findings from this study may be that students most at risk of dropping out of online classes at this college generally take advantage of college services and support more than students who do not drop out of online classes. However, even with the increased use of college services, these at risk students still drop out of online classes more than other students. Therefore, online persistence rates at this community college may have more to do with the students who enroll in online classes than the quality of instruction or support services.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Locks, Angela M.
School: California State University, Long Beach
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 73/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Community college education, Educational leadership
Keywords: California, Community college, Internet, Online, Persistence
Publication Number: 3485377
ISBN: 978-1-267-01911-0
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