CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

A Study of Motivation, Achievement, and Study Skills in an Online Community College Course in Beginning Algebra

Date of Award

2005

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Laurie Dringus

Committee Member

Timothy Ellis

Committee Member

Steven R. Terrell

Abstract

This study examined the effects of a study skills intervention on motivation and achievement in an online beginning algebra class at a community college. The study skills treatment was given online and incorporated the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory Instructional Modules to guide the students through a series of study skills lessons. Achievement was measured using pre and post-test scores on the TerraNova algebra diagnostic test. Motivation and other study skills knowledge was measured using the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory.

A review of the literature indicated that the teaching of study skills to supplement another course such as algebra has led to greater academic achievement. However, many of the studies did not undergo the rigor required to establish a cause-effect relationship. Furthermore, those that did yielded inconclusive results. There was no study found that presented study skills to an online course in mathematics. Additionally, there were very few studies that taught study skills using online technology. In this study the researcher introduced a series of study skills interventions into an online beginning algebra course.

These lessons served as the independent variable. The dependent variables included achievement, completion rate, knowledge of study skills, and motivation. Research questions addressed in this study included the following. Is there a relationship between the knowledge of study skills and course achievement of students enrolled in an online beginning algebra course? Is there a greater rate of completion in the online beginning algebra course for those students who received the study skills treatment? Is there a relationship between the knowledge of study skills and motivation? It was found that there was no relationship between a knowledge of study skills and either course achievement or motivation. Furthermore, there was a greater rate of completion in the online class that did not receive the study skills treatment. Among the study skills that students considered to be the most useful included developing a positive attitude, improving motivation, developing the discipline necessary for online coursework, and becoming more skilled in test taking strategies. Goal setting was considered to be among the least useful study skills. Developing discipline, minimizing procrastination, taking responsibility, the use of study aids, and improving motivation were considered to be the most useful study skills that could be directly applied to other course work.

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