Date of Award

Summer 2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Peter B. Duffy


Online course offerings are becoming more abundant in post-secondary education; such is the case with science courses at Tidal Wave Technical College. Online courses bring many benefits to students including flexibility, convenience, and the ability to learn anywhere, anytime. However, despite these benefits many challenges are also associated with online course offerings including student attrition. Using a non-major biology course as the test model this research sought to trial one possible way to alleviate the problems associated with online learning by incorporating a synchronous online orientation. Data on student attrition, success, and perception was gathered to gain insight into the effects of using synchronous online course orientation. The data showed a significant difference between the withdrawal rates in the synchronous and asynchronous treatments. Additionally, student success (measured by student grades) was higher in the online sections when the synchronous online course orientation treatment. Finally, after implementation synchronous online orientation treatments and face-to-face courses showed no significant difference between withdrawal and student success rates. These findings will help incorporate ways to improve attrition rates and student success and help to increase the equivalency between online and face-to-face courses.


© 2019, Rachel C. Fowler