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Retention and attrition in online classes: Challenges and potentials

, Capella University, United States

Capella University . Awarded


Anecdotal evidence and some institutional studies indicate that attrition rates are generally higher in online courses than in their face-to-face counterparts. If this assumption were not questioned, not only would the reputation of institutions that provide online education possibly be blemished, but also the level of funding they receive might decline. Thus, improving retention in online programs has become an area of great concern for colleges, and finding a resolution remains an actively debated topic. This study is a small contribution to the continuing effort to understand the factors that contribute to low retention levels, and perhaps find ways to reverse the trend. This work examined, documented and analyzed, through a case study, some issues that might have been related to retention and attrition levels in online environments. The study aimed at discovering what might be associated with the phenomenon of attrition. For example, of the areas the study probed, the most significant for online students were associated with the teacher's role, and online interaction. Based on analysis of the findings, this project provided some insights as to a few of the possible factors that might have been related to attrition. Although the study was limited to a particular population in a particular time and setting, it might pave the way for further investigation of the intriguing questions relevant to the presumed high attrition levels in online education.


Bebawi, S.G. Retention and attrition in online classes: Challenges and potentials. Ph.D. thesis, Capella University. Retrieved July 12, 2020 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 22, 2013. [Original Record]

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