Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Robert Rose

Committee Member

Elizabeth Brennan


attrition, distance learning, first-year experience, retention


This applied dissertation is a mixed-methods study designed to collect student perspectives of an online First-Year Experience (FE) course and to determine the overall value of the FE course. The researcher sought to identify what is the value of the FE course to the students enrolled in this online course. In the study’s survey, students will be asked a series of questions designed to determine the overall value of the FE course. For this study, the online FE course survey addressed the following theme areas: Course Content, Overall Satisfaction, Transfer Perceptions, and the participants are the new incoming students (first-year and transfer status) that were enrolled and have completed the online FE course. The researcher collected demographic data and analyzed Likert-like scale questions from survey responses. The survey contained open-ended questions inviting the students to express their “lived” experiences, having completed the online FE course based on perceived value. The transcribed open-ended questions were sorted into common themes that indicate the students’ perceptions of their “lived” experiences while taking this online FE course. The research that has been undertaken for this study has highlighted how retention rates and first-year student perceptions are essential when implementing an FE course at a university and that further research would be beneficial. The researcher would recommend expanding this survey at multiple universities to diversify the findings of demographical and retention data, as well as the perceptions of first-year students in varied FE course programs.