Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Center for the Advancement of Education


The use of telecourses as an alternative method of instruction has grown considerably among higher education institutions in the past decade. Yet reservations linger regarding the effectiveness and appropriateness of this technology in academic settings. While the literature has generally shown no negative impacts of telecourses on academic performance, questions remain about the quality of the learning experience and how well this medium serves the needs of the diverse student types being served by colleges today. As the involvement of Tidewater Community College (TCC) in telecourse instruction has increased over the past few years, so too has the need to gather current data regarding how well telecourses are helping to meet the goals of the institution and meeting the learning needs of the students who enroll in them. The study described herein was designed to address the following research questions: 1) Is there a significant difference in the academic performance of students enrolled in telecourses as compared to students in regular “live” classroom sections of the retention patterns of telecourse students as compared to students in regular “live” classroom sections of the same courses? This quasi-experimental, exploratory study selected TCC students enrolled during the 1985-86 academic year in each of two different credit telecourses (GOVT 180: MKTG 100) as the experimental group. The control group consisted of students enrolled in “live” classroom sections of the same two courses. Both the telecourse sections and the “live” sections pursued the same objectives and course content, using similarly designed assignments and examinations. The treatment was the method instruction provided by participation in a telecourse. Academic performance results were measured by conducting a Chi-Square analysis on the final grades earned by the students in the experimental and control groups. The impact of telecourse instruction on student retention in the institution was likewise measured by Chi-Square analysis of the next quarter’s registration records for each group, to compare returning vs. non-returning students. The results of the study provided beginning point for helping the college evaluate the current effectiveness of its telecourse offering and plan for future modifications in the programs while providing a proto-type for subsequent institutional research in this area of inquiry. Conclusion drawn from the finding were that there was a significant difference in the academic performance of telecourse students as compared to students receiving regular “live” classroom instruction but there was no significant difference in the retention patterns of both groups. Recommendations included the desirability of more extensive follow-up studies, and to determine the extent to which the findings are valid and reliable when the full set of telecourse offerings is studied.

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