CCE Theses and Dissertations


A Study to Determine the Predictions of Success in a distance Doctoral Program

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Steven R. Terrell

Committee Member

Laurie Dringus

Committee Member

Maxine S. Cohen


The doctoral major of Computing Technology in Education at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) has the lowest graduation rate of the doctoral majors in the Graduate School of information and Computer Sciences (GSCIS) as well as the entire university (Atherton, 1998). The goal of this study was to determine if there were factors that influence the persistence and graduation rates of this major. The study used student learning style and locus of control to determine if these factors could be used to answer two questions. First, are there differences between students that complete the coursework and those that do not finish? Second, are there differences between students who, after completing the coursework, complete the dissertation and those who do not? The participants of the study were doctoral students enrolled in the Computing Technology in Education major at the GSCIS. Student data was collected via a data collection form, the Kolb Learning Style Inventory and the Nowicki-Strickland Locus of Control instrument. After being tracked longitudinally, student attrition and graduation rate were analyzed using the aforementioned data. The study showed promising results by demonstrating the usefulness of learning style and locus of control as factors to consider when addressing attrition from a distance education program. Specifically, learning style proved to be an efficient predictor of coursework completion while an individual 's locus of control was predictive of their graduation from the program.

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