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Reading online: Comparing the student completion frequencies in an instructor-led face-to-face versus online developmental reading course

, Capella University, United States

Capella University . Awarded


The purpose of this mixed methods study was to examine the influence online course delivery has on the number of students who successfully complete a developmental reading course from Fall 2008 to Spring 2011. A sequential explanatory mixed methods design was employed to first compare the completion frequency of students enrolled in face-to-face and online sections of the developmental reading course at a South Atlantic state community college. Perceptions of the online instructor and online learners were then gathered during interviews to explain persistence challenges and barriers that existed. Educational learning theories and their potential benefit to developmental education students were also examined. Online learning and the online instructor in general were examined, followed by pertinent information regarding developmental education online. The theoretical framework of Malcom Knowles's theory of andragogy, which identifies how adults learn (Smith, 1999, 'Andragogy', The Encyclopaedia of Informal Education), was used to interpret the results. The archived quantitative data retrieved during Phase 1 of this study was analyzed using a chi-square analysis to determine if a statistically significant difference exists between the numbers of students who successfully completed the course distinguished by delivery method over the eight academic semesters (36 months). Causal relationships were uncovered during the second phase of the study from the student and instructor participants' interviews. The results indicated that there is a difference in the successful course completion rate of developmental reading students based on the course delivery method, as more face-to-face students successfully completed the course. The results of this study also indicated some of the biggest challenges facing online students and ways in which the online version of the course can be improved. Course improvements were recommended to increase the number of students who successfully complete online developmental reading courses in the future. Finally, as there continues to be a need to research the success of online developmental courses to improve course development in the future (Petrides & Nodine, 2009, Online Developmental Education: Who's Ready?), future research recommendations were provided.


Lattimore, T.N. Reading online: Comparing the student completion frequencies in an instructor-led face-to-face versus online developmental reading course. Ph.D. thesis, Capella University. Retrieved October 20, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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