Correlation between Grades Earned and Time in Online Courses

Lin Carver, Keya Muhkerjee, Robert Lucio


Online education is rapidly becoming a significant method of course delivery in higher education. Consequently instructors are analyzing student performance in an attempt to better scaffold student learning. Learning analytics can provide insight into online students’ course behaviors. Archival data from 167 graduate level education students enrolled in 4 different programs and 9 different online courses was analyzed in an attempt to determine if there was a correlation between their grades and the time spent in specific areas within the course: the total time within the course, the course modules, document repository, and synchronous online sessions. Data was analyzed by total time in course, time in modules, time in document repository, and time in the online synchronous discussions as well as by program. Time spent in each component did not correlate with the specific letter grade, but did correlate with earning an A or not earning an A. The sample was composed of students from four different graduate education programs: Educational Leadership, Reading, Instructional Design, and Special Education. Variations were found between programs, but the differences did not significantly correlate with the grade earned in the course. A logical progression revealed that of all the predictor variables, only time spent in synchronous online sessions showed as a significant predictor of receiving an A in the course. This is important information for instructor when providing scaffolding for students.


Online Learning, analytics, Higher education

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