Completion and success of community college developmental students enrolled in an online gateway mathematics course.
Concurrent Session 2
Improving successful outcomes for students within an online modality can assist higher education to create pathways for students to succeed within an online course. With the growth and popularity of online learning, postsecondary institutions must continue to develop best practices in areas of online teaching pedagogies to promote student success (Garrison et al., 2000; Lawson, T.M., 2019; Swan et al., 2009; Swan, 2002).
As online education gains popularity among both learners and postsecondary institutions, there is a movement toward identifying ways to promote student success. Over half of all higher education institutions offer online classes, due in part to the ease of offering and scheduling (Hoffman, 2006); educators seek ways to identify any demographic or academic characteristics that lead to success (Jaggars & Bailey, 2010). With the growth and popularity of online learning, postsecondary institutions must continue to develop best practices in the areas of online teaching pedagogies to promote student success. Within community colleges there is a growing acceptance of online courses and given that over 60% of incoming students test into developmental math coursework (Chen, 2016), answers must be sought to assist these developmental math learners toward online success.
This study investigated the role of various student characteristics concerning student success in online developmental math course completion. The sample used was students enrolled in a specific identified gateway mathematic course offered fully online in at a large suburban, public community college located in the northeastern part of the United States. Utilizing a mixed methods explanatory sequential design, the research explored course completion rates of developmental students enrolled in online college-level mathematics courses, the study analyzed the role of demographic and academic characteristics for developmental students enrolled in a college-level mathematics course offered fully online from the fall 2017 through fall 2019 academic year. A second phase of semi-structured interviews was conducted to explore aspects of student success from individuals identified in the first phase.
The questions guiding this research were:
RQ1. What is the predictive influence of demographic characteristics of age, gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status on successful course completion of developmental students enrolled in a college-level online mathematics course?
RQ2. What is the predictive influence of academic characteristics of successful credit hours attempted, number of developmental courses taken, and number of credit hours awarded on successful course completion of developmental students enrolled in a college-level online mathematics course?
RQ3. How do students enrolled in a fully online mathematics course describe their participation and engagement within this course?
My research findings indicate the online modality for learning although still being analyzed for its effectiveness, has become a viable source for education. Community colleges must continue to gauge whether the modality of online learning is a fit for the student and the institutions that offer it and must create pathways for success. Research has shown, community college students select online courses for many reasons (Jaggars, 2014; Swan et al., 2009), and as such it is imperative that leaders of these institutions continue to provide pathways for these students’ success. The quantitative portion identified that community college students that had completed a significant portion of their needed coursework were more apt to advance and complete an online course. A further outcome discovered from the qualitative portion of this study elaborated students’ need for collaboration, as they described the necessity and the ability to create a community of learners within the online classroom (Garrison et al., 2000; Lawson, T.M., 2019; Swan et al., 2009; Swan, 2002). A community of learners has the potential to address the isolation and the disconnect experienced by both student and instructor.
Comparing online learning to traditional face-to-face coursework for the presence of engagement of both the student and the instructor, the research points to formation of engagement being created through components of the learning management system that are rooted in Harasim's (2017) Online Collaborative Learning (OCL) theory. Thereby validating that social presence affects not only results for students but possibly an instructor’s fulfillment derived from teaching a course (Swan, K., 2002). Improving the successful outcomes for students within an online modality can assist higher educational to create pathways for developmental students to succeed within an online course.
The results of this mixed methods explanatory research can be potentially used to forecast and improve community college student success of previously enrolled developmental mathematics learners that enroll to take their first college-level mathematics course in an online modality.
Chen, X. (2016). Remedial course taking at US public 2-and 4-year institutions: Scope, experiences, and outcomes. Statistical analysis report (NCES 2016-405). National Center for Education Statistics.
Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2–3), 87–105.
Harasim, L. (2017). Learning theory and online technologies. Routledge.
Hoffman, P. (2006, August 23). Virtual teams in education. http://ezinearticles. com/?Virtual-Teams-in-Education&id=279703
Jaggars, S., & Bailey, T. R. (2010). Effectiveness of fully online courses for college students: Response to a Department of Education meta-analysis. Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University. http://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/media/k2/attachments/effectiveness-online-re...
Jaggars, S. S. (2014) Choosing between online and face-to-face courses: Community college student voices. American Journal of Distance Education, 28(1), 27–38, https://doi.org/10.1080/08923647.2014.867697
Lawson, T. M. (2019). Community of inquiry: Measuring online learners’ emotional presence, self- efficacy, and perceived quality of online learning (Doctoral dissertation, Grand Canyon University).
Swan, K. (2002). Building communities in online courses: the importance of interaction. Education, Communication and Information, 2 (1), 23–49. https://doi.org/10.1080/1463631022000005016
Swan, K., Garrison, D. R., & Richardson, J. C. (2009). A constructivist approach to online learning: Community of Inquiry framework. In C. R. Payne (Ed.), Information technology and constructivism in higher education: Progressive learning frameworks (pp. 48–87). IGI Global.