Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice

Document Type



The number of online courses and degree programs available to students in institutions of higher education has proliferated over the past decades. Despite this growth there continues to be debate as to how to best design these courses so that they promote student learning. One common area of agreement, however, is that effectively designed courses promote interactions among students and faculty that increase and sustain learning. There is also growing consensus of the important role that information literacy may play in student success in online courses. In the context of online courses where interactions with information often replace human interactions, information literacy skills may be critical to student success. This study was designed to explore this possibility. The study was conducted at a mid-size university in the south and had two goals: First, to profile online course offerings at the university using a checklist based on best practices for online courses. Second, the study sought to investigate the relationship of information literacy skills with success in online courses. A mixed methods research design was used in which quantitative methods were used to profile the courses studied and explore correlates of student success; qualitative methods were used to explore the dynamics of the courses and shed light on the quantitative results. The results were as follows: The online courses studied varied with respect to their information literacy requirements and the extent to which they adhered to best practices as reflected in the online course checklist used. Second, information literacy skills were correlated with success, but less so than the quality of instruction and interactions with the course instructor. Third, information literacy skills were positively related to interactions with both course instructors and other students. Fourth, students were generally favorably disposed towards their courses and appeared to rely heavily on the course instructor if their information literacy skills were deficient.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Kennedy, Eugene



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Education Commons