University Ready: Examining the relationships between social capital and an online college access program
Wendy Marshall, University of Southern California, United States
University of Southern California . Awarded
Despite aspirations of college enrollment, low-income and minority students face great obstacles in reaching their college dreams. Prior research indicates that college enrollment relates to the aspirations and support that families communicate to their children regarding college. Families in greatest need of information to support their children are least likely to receive it from their schools or outreach programs. Although the Internet has the potential to connect families with college-related information, comprehensive online college access programs targeted at families do not appear to exist, and thus there is a paucity of research related to online approaches to reaching marginalized families. This study examines a six-week online course for parents, University Ready, and the relationship between participation and college-related social capital. Twenty-seven low-income, Latino parents whose children attend schools that feed into a high school with minimal college opportunity participated in this study. An examination of pre- and post-survey responses, discussion board messages, and course analytics provide insights into the relationship between participation in the program and college-related social capital. Additionally, patterns of participation and persistence were examined, as well as the challenges and benefits of an online approach to reaching families. The results of the analysis indicate that participation in University Ready relates to increases in college-related social capital. These results, as well as the benefits and limitations of the approach, point to implications for schools and areas for future research.
Marshall, W. University Ready: Examining the relationships between social capital and an online college access program. Ph.D. thesis, University of Southern California.
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