Academic journal article International Forum of Teaching and Studies

Comparison of Course Completion Rates in Intermediate Algebra Based on Term and Modality

Academic journal article International Forum of Teaching and Studies

Comparison of Course Completion Rates in Intermediate Algebra Based on Term and Modality

Article excerpt

Introduction

For the better part of two decades, exponential growth in online education has changed the face of higher education. With technology evolving, computers becoming more affordable and mainstream, and the increasing responsibilities outside of the campus environment, online courses have become a more attractive option for the current generation of college students. Between the fall of 2002 and the fall of 2006, the number of students taking at least one online course grew by a compound annual rate of 21.5% while the total number of students in higher education grew at a much lower annual rate of only 1.5% (Allen & Seaman, 2007). By 2006, "students taking at least one online course [represented] almost 20 percent of total enrollments in higher education" (Allen & Seaman, 2007, p. 5). While some researchers may contribute this high amount of growth to the increase in for-profit online universities, research shows that community colleges had the "highest growth rates" and accounted for "over one-half of all online enrollments" during that time period (Allen & Seaman, 2007, p. 1). Online enrollments continued to increase anywhere from 10% to 21% per year between 2008 and 2010 (Britto & Rush, 2013). While the percentage growth during the next decade is not expected to be as high as the past decade, "enrollments in online courses will likely continue to grow" (Meyer, 2014, p. 576). Influenced by increased demand from students for online courses, the mission of community colleges to provide access for all students has resulted in more and more online courses, and even programs, being offered each year.

Instruction in online courses can be as effective, if not more effective, than face-to-face instruction (Dixson, 2010; Sutton, 2014). However, multiple studies and research articles have found that students are less likely to successfully complete online classes than those students in face-to-face classes, by as much as 10% to 36% (Angelino & Natvig, 2009; Britto & Rush, 2013; Carr, 2000; Dietz-Uhler, Fisher, & Han, 2008; Doherty, 2006; Tirrell & Quick, 2012). While many colleges routinely publish their course completion data as part of their annual review, there is not a significant body of literature that directly compares course completion rates by term and even less research has separated the completion rates for online classes by term. With that in mind, for this study the researchers are interested in any differences in course completion rates that can be attributed to the class modality, online or face-to-face, the term in which a course is offered, and any interaction between modality and term. The main focus is on two-year colleges and data will be obtained and analyzed from a public, suburban two-year college.

Review of the Literature

Rising public and legislative awareness of the high costs of attending college, coupled with concerns regarding student performance and degree attainment, have evolved into a culture of accountability for America's colleges and universities. Simultaneously, as state and federal funding continues to represent a decreasing percentage of annual operating revenue for most public institutions, the need to attract larger enrollments for tuition revenue has grown (Mortenson, 2012). The demand for consuming higher education via online access is undeniable, as is the response of colleges and universities to cater to that demand as evidenced by the fact that online enrollments continue to represent the fastest growing enrollment category in American higher education (Capra, 2014). Though it has been widely held that no statistically significant difference in completion rates exist between online and traditional courses, much of the literature supporting this viewpoint is aimed at the well-prepared university student (Xu & Jaggars, 2011). The research regarding the efficacy of online (distance learning) courses on student learning and performance at the community college yields conflicting results. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.