An investigation of course-level factors as predictors of online STEM course outcomes

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Date: Aug. 2014
From: Computers & Education(Vol. 77)
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Document Type: Author abstract; Report
Length: 352 words

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Abstract :

To link to full-text access for this article, visit this link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2014.04.015 Byline: Claire Wladis, Alyse C. Hachey, Katherine Conway Abstract: This study analyzed students who took STEM courses online or face-to-face at a large urban community college in the Northeastern U.S. to determine which course-level characteristics most strongly predicted higher rates of dropout or D/F grades in online STEM courses than would be expected in comparable face-to-face courses. While career and elective STEM courses had significantly higher success rates face-to-face than liberal arts and major requirement STEM courses respectively, career STEM courses had significantly higher success rates online than would be expected, while elective STEM courses had significantly lower success rates online than would be expected given the face-to-face results. Once propensity score matching was used to generate a matched subsample which was balanced on a number of student characteristics, differences in course outcomes by course characteristics were no longer significant. This suggests that while certain types of STEM courses can be identified as higher or lower risk in the online environment, this appears not to be because of the courses themselves, but rather because of the particular characteristics of the students who choose to take these courses online. Findings suggests that one potential intervention for improving online STEM course outcomes could be to target students in specific courses which are at higher risk in the online environment; this may allow institutions to leverage interventions by focusing them on the STEM courses at greatest risk of lower online success rates, where the students who are at highest risk of online dropout seem to be concentrated. Author Affiliation: (a) Borough of Manhattan Community College at the City University of New York, Mathematics Dept., 199 Chambers St., New York, NY 10007, USA (b) Borough of Manhattan Community College at the City University of New York, Teacher Education Dept., 199 Chambers St., New York, NY 10007, USA (c) Borough of Manhattan Community College at the City University of New York, Business Dept., 245 Greenwich St., New York, NY 10007, USA Article History: Received 30 December 2013; Revised 23 April 2014; Accepted 27 April 2014

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A371543059