Investigating the Impact of Online Classes on Undergraduate Degree Completion

Sharon Wavle, Gamze Ozogul

Abstract


This study expands on current research that examines the impact of online courses on retention, degree completion, and student success. The researchers investigated the impact of online courses on degree completion by using existing graduation rate data, course enrollment data, and student grades for undergraduate students at a multi-campus 4-year institution. The researchers aimed to provide advisors, faculty, and administrators with a better understanding of how online classes fit into an undergraduate student’s program of study while completing their degrees within the desired timeframe.  The researchers additionally sought to understand the impact of taking online classes on degree completion while controlling for student demographic and academic factors (e.g. age, first-generation student status, socioeconomic status, SAT/ACT scores, and 1st semester GPA) and campus type (traditional flagship, urban research, and regional). Results indicated that regardless of campus type taking one or more online classes during their program of study increased undergraduate students’ likelihood of successful degree completion. Lastly, to provide further insight, this study compared student performance in online and on campus classes. Results for this comparison were mixed; slightly higher or slightly lower online course grades were obtained by students compared to face-to-face course grades depending on type of campus.


Keywords


Online classes; online learning; graduation rates; degree completion; course completion; retention; student success

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v23i4.1558



Copyright (c) 2019 Sharon Wavle, Gamze Ozogul

License URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/