Development and validation of an instrument to predict online student success using faculty perceptions

Roberto Jaime Hernandez, Florida International University


Distance learning is growing and transforming educational institutions. The increasing use of distance learning by higher education institutions and particularly community colleges coupled with the higher level of student attrition in online courses than in traditional classrooms suggests that increased attention should be paid to factors that affect online student course completion. The purpose of the study was to develop and validate an instrument to predict community college online student course completion based on faculty perceptions, yielding a prediction model of online course completion rates. Social Presence and Media Richness theories were used to develop a theoretically-driven measure of online course completion. This research study involved surveying 311 community college faculty who taught at least one online course in the past 2 years. Email addresses of participating faculty were provided by two south Florida community colleges. Each participant was contacted through email, and a link to an Internet survey was given. The survey response rate was 63% (192 out of 303 available questionnaires). Data were analyzed through factor analysis, alpha reliability, and multiple regression. The exploratory factor analysis using principal component analysis with varimax rotation yielded a four-factor solution that accounted for 48.8% of the variance. Consistent with Social Presence theory, the factors with their percent of variance in parentheses were: immediacy (21.2%), technological immediacy (11.0%), online communication and interactivity (10.3%), and intimacy (6.3%). Internal consistency of the four factors was calculated using Cronbach's alpha (1951) with reliability coefficients ranging between .680 and .828. Multiple regression analysis yielded a model that significantly predicted 11% of the variance of the dependent variable, the percentage of student who completed the online course. As indicated in the literature (Johnson & Keil, 2002; Newberry, 2002), Media Richness theory appears to be closely related to Social Presence theory. However, elements from this theory did not emerge in the factor analysis.

Subject Area

Community college education|Educational tests & measurements|Educational technology|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Hernandez, Roberto Jaime, "Development and validation of an instrument to predict online student success using faculty perceptions" (2008). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3353583.