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Date of Award


Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Document type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Education; Educational Policy and Leadership

First Advisor

Joseph B. Berger

Second Advisor

John G. Stoffolano

Third Advisor

Elizabeth A. Williams

Subject Categories

Higher Education | Other Education


The purpose of this study is to investigate the factors that influence the persistence of adult students in online undergraduate courses at the community college level. Quantitative analysis of survey results from 476 students enrolled in on-line courses at two community colleges indicate that desire to complete the degree, previous experience in on-line courses and assignment completion are the strongest predictors of course completion. The findings from this research also provide the basis for making recommendations for future research and improving policy and practice. Finally, the results of this study suggest the basis for developing new models for understanding persistence in on-line courses.