Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Workforce Education and Development

First Advisor

Freeburg, Beth


It is evident that the failure rate is higher among online students than in-class students at Hopkinsville Community College. An analysis of the academic records of students who enrolled in online courses for the first time at Hopkinsville indicated a 13% higher withdrawal and failure rate than those who took in-class courses over the same period between 2000 and 2010. Colleges are taking potentially all of the necessary steps to reduce the student failure rates among online students because high withdrawal and failure rates often reflect badly on the quality of education by the providing institutions (C. Segura, personal communication, November 2009). The purpose of this study is to determine if there is any statistically significant difference in the success rates between first-time online students who participated in the orientation for first-time online students, and first-time online students who did not participate in the orientation at Hopkinsville Community College. The study also determined if any relationships exist between success in an online course and student gender, student course load, student grade point average (GPA), student age, student readiness for online learning score, and student level of technology experience score. Studying the relationships between orientation of first-time online students and withdrawal and failure rates among first-time online students may lead to finding ways of reducing the high failure and withdrawal rates of online students at the community college.




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