Date of Award

Spring 4-28-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Trey Moeller

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Third Advisor

Dr. Kevin Cooper


This study included an investigation of several aspects of fully online programs and their relationship with student connectedness. Bawa (2016) stated retention rates for fully online students lag far behind their traditional in-person counterparts. Green et al. (2017) concluded online students who feel more connected are more likely to persist in their online programs. This quantitative study included data collected from students enrolled in fully online programs offered by a regional, four-year public institution. The survey instrument included a measurement of student connectedness as determined by the Online Student Connectedness Survey (Bolliger & Inan, 2012). Additional information collected from participants included the frequency of both asynchronous and synchronous technology-enhanced interactions and whether or not the students attended any in-person residency components. Other variables investigated included each student’s age, gender, level of technology expertise, experience with online learning, and whether or not a degree had previously been earned from the same institution. A statistically significant relationship was found between increased frequencies of all types of technologyenhanced interactions and student connectedness, especially for student-to-student interactions. The strongest correlation was found between synchronous student-to-student interactions and student connectedness. Also, students participating in an in-person residency requirement had a statistically significant higher level of connectedness than those who did not participate in such a residency. Higher levels of technology expertise and experience with online learning were also found to be significant factors of increased student connectedness.


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