Date of Award

4-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Degree Program

Global Leadership - with a specialization in Corporate and Organizational Management

Department

College of Business and Management

First Advisor

Mary Tebes

Second Advisor

Cheryl Serrano

Third Advisor

Melvin Schwager

Abstract

On-line higher education courses continue to receive growing interest among students, and colleges and universities throughout the country strive to ensure that quality education is provided in an on-line environment. Characteristics of the student and of the course, the student's ability to interact cross-culturally, and the impact of class community on course performance are all critical components that need further investigation. Continuing the development and implementation of on-line higher education courses can provide students with more successful on-line higher educational experiences.

Structural and process variables attribute to the makeup of on-line courses and components involved in their delivery. A discussion on several models of theoretical framework, such as Bransford's Model of Perspectives on Learning Environments; Oberg's An Outsider Within Orientation Model; Anderson, Rourke, Garrison, and Archer's Community of Inquiry Model; and Lipman's Community of Inquiry Approach Model, are included to explain the effects of structural and implementation characteristics of the on-line class on course performance.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship among student characteristics, on-line course characteristics, cross-cultural adaptability, classroom community, and course performance. Examining how these characteristics play a role in the performance of on-line students aids higher education institutions with a better understanding about variables that influence student success within on-line higher education.

In this study, a quantitative, non-experimental, correlational (explanatory), and causal-comparative (exploratory) design was proposed to answer two research questions and six hypotheses. 3,210 on-line students enrolled at SUNY Empire State College Center for Distance Learning (CDL) were invited to participate in the research. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, one-way ANOVA, independent t-tests, and multiple regression.

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