The relationships between specific variables and course satisfaction and grade achievement for on-line classes at the community college level

Bettie Caroline Barrett Wiggins

Abstract

This study examined the relationships among the following independent variables: (a) locus of control, (b) self-efficacy, (c) age, (d) gender, (e) ethnicity, (f) level of college experience, (g) marital status, (h) distance from the university campus, (i) financial assistance, (j) number of hours per week employed, (k) number of hours per week spent studying, (l) pre-existing knowledge of the subject matter, (m) previous experience with technology, and (n) satisfaction with the instructor with the outcome variables of course satisfaction and grade achievement in on-line distance education students. The data was gathered from undergraduate students enrolled in on-line distance education classes at the Mississippi Virtual Community College during the Spring semester, 2000. The subjects completed on-line the Rotter Internal-External Locus of Control Scale, a self-efficacy scale, a course satisfaction scale, and a Student Information Sheet with Demographic Data. These data were analyzed using multiple regression to see if any of these predictor variables significantly predicted grade and course satisfaction individually. This study added to a body of research on factors contributing to the course satisfaction and grade achievement of on-line distance education students. Moreover, this information aided the Mississippi Virtual Community College in its efforts to better understand the satisfaction and desires of on-line distance education students. The study found no variables to be statistically significant predictors of either grade achievement or course satisfaction. However, there was statistically significant positive small effect size correlations between Grade Achievement and self-efficacy (r2 = 1.8%, p = .05) and age r2 = 6.1%, p = .001). Additionally, there was a statistically significant negative small effect size correlation between Course Satisfaction and locus of control ( r2 = 1.8%, p = .05). The negative correlation was expected because of the scoring procedure on the Rotter Locus of Control instrument. Namely, the lower the score, the higher the internal locus of control.