Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice

Document Type



The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of alternative course delivery methods, which can ultimately help higher education stakeholders make informed decisions for present and future educational endeavors. Emerging systems of educational technology, such as ‘networked learning’ and the increasing development of online courses have created many questions concerning the effectiveness of online learning relative to face-to-face learning. More research supporting online as an effective alternative to traditional education is needed as an evaluative tool to potentially mitigate the budgetary constraints, which pose a threat to the institution’s ability to fulfill their mission of providing a quality education to their students. Specifically, community colleges have the highest enrollment growth rate and account for half of higher education enrollment over the last five years (Allen and Searman, 2007), but unfortunately, smaller, public and community colleges have not historically invested in distance education (Janes, 2003). Community college students and faculty were participants in this quasi-experimental research study, in which the findings support that online courses are popular overall with students, as indicated by the total number of students who enrolled in these courses, but, unfortunately, students who enroll in online courses are not as successful as the students enrolled in on-ground courses. A contributing factor to the popularity of online courses in community colleges, as in setting of this research, is the fact that there is no on-campus housing; all students live off campus. Furthermore, the higher rate of online non-completers could be due to the fact that community college students are usually at a disadvantage, subject to more characteristics that negatively impact their success in college, including scoring lower in high school, delaying college after high school, attending part-time, and coming from families who are in the lower socio-economic status (Bailey, Jenkins & Leinbach (2005). The results of this study indicate that minorities perform worse online than onground. Females are more likely to be unsuccessful at an on-ground course but more successful online. Traditionally aged students (18-24 years) generally are less successful than non-traditional students (25 and older) in online courses.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Arbuthnot, Keena



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Education Commons