Atchley, Thomas Wayne (2010-08). Comparison of Course Completion and Academic Performance in Online vs. Traditional Courses. Doctoral Dissertation.
Enrollment in online courses has outpaced overall university enrollment for the
past several years. The growth of online courses does not appear to be slowing. The
purpose of this study was to examine the origins of online education at Tarleton State
University, to compare course completion and student academic performance between
online and traditional courses, and to develop a predictive model for students' successful
completion of online courses. Archival data from the Tarleton student records system
was collected using the Structured Query Language. Descriptive statistics were used to
analyze student characteristics. Chi-square analysis was used to determine if significant
differences existed between students enrolled in online and traditional courses when
comparing course completion and academic performance. Analysis found significant
differences existed in both course completion and academic performance for students
enrolled in online vs. traditional courses. Additional analysis indicated significant
differences existed in course completion by course discipline. A predictive model was
created using binary logistic regression and included the predictor variables age, student classification, term course load, and cumulative GPA. The final model correctly
predicted successful completion of 85.5 percent of all cases.