CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

Integrating Online Social Environments Into Community College Student Organizations

Date of Award

2005

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Getrude W. Abramson

Committee Member

Timothy Ellis

Committee Member

George K. Fornshell

Abstract

Community college students participate less in campus organizations than do students at four-year colleges, while academic and social integration have consistently been factors that promote academic success, persistence and goal attainment. Community college researchers have failed to adequately identify academic and social integration as important factors in student retention and have often produced contradictory findings.

There remains a dearth in the literature concerning the distinctive social relations of community college students, and studies on the first two years of college are often based upon first year students at four-year colleges. Regardless of limited research and contradictory findings, social relations should be fostered on community college campuses.

The goal of the dissertation was to develop and implement an online social environment for the Alpha Psi Rho chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society at Lakeland Community College, in Kirtland, Ohio. The online social environment that was created was titled APR-CoP.org. APR-CoP.org added new dimensions and methods of integration for Alpha Psi Rho, where students collaborated together and benefited from integrating academically and socially by sharing ideas and resources. The online social environment was not a replacement of the on-campus or in community functions of Alpha Psi Rho, but was an enlacement.

It was determined that student based online social environments need to supply positive reinforcement concerning the organization, its members, its advisors and the entire campus community, and should be places to disseminate information and reach out to all their members. Success of a student based online social environment has to be determined by the level of commitment by its participants. Regardless of usability and sociability needs, methods of integration, collaboration, academic impact and goals achievement, student based online social environments cannot be successful without the commitment of their members.

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