An investigative study of factors that influence the retention rates in online programs at selected state, state-affiliated, and private universities
Tiffany Nate' Evans, Robert Morris University, United States
Robert Morris University . Awarded
The growth of online courses and programs offered at universities indicates it is increasingly important that higher education administrators understand the factors influencing the retention rates of students pursuing their coursework online. In this study, traditional factors influencing retention rates of students who take courses on campus were reviewed and compared to data obtained from students and college administrators at selected state, state-affiliated, and private universities.
As a part of this qualitative study, the researcher conducted in-depth interviews with five college administrators from five different universities and ten students who were enrolled in online programs at each of the five selected universities. The data collected was analyzed by the researcher to determine the factors which influenced retention rates of students enrolled in totally online programs. As a result of the analysis done on the data, five themes were revealed which included: (1) faculty involvement, (2) curriculum improvements, (3) student engagement, (4) flexibility of the online course format, and (5) university resources. These themes can assist college administrators and online instructors in increasing student satisfaction with their online courses/programs and provided five significant areas of study with significant impact on the retention of online students.
Evans, T.N. An investigative study of factors that influence the retention rates in online programs at selected state, state-affiliated, and private universities. Ph.D. thesis, Robert Morris University.
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