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"Online Student Success: Making a Difference" icon

Online Student Success: Making a Difference

How do students prepare to succeed in an online learning environment? This research project examines the effectiveness of one answer to this question. Cosumnes River College offers a course to meet this need, Online Student Success (OSS). This research project examines the effect on success rates for students who enroll in OSS. Two comparisons are made. One is of online students who have enrolled in OSS compared to online students who have not; the other is a comparison between the online performance of students before and after their enrollment in OSS. Historical data (academic performance, enrollment, and demographic) were collected and analyzed, and an online survey of students who enrolled in the class was conducted. Results indicate a positive relationship between enrollment in OSS and success rates, both in the historical data and in comments from participants. Students who passed OSS were more successful in their online classes than students who did not enroll in OSS. In addition, students who passed OSS were more successful in the online classes they enrolled in after taking OSS. Future implications are discussed, including recommendations for future studies that could contribute to the understanding of how to increase student success in online education. These suggestions include broadening the sources of historical data to include enrollment and performance in online classes at other colleges in the same district and investigating why certain students enroll in this class. A final research suggestion is how to identify the online students who would benefit from this class and how to encourage them to take it before they risk poor performance and thereby alienate themselves from the increased access to higher education offered by online education.

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