Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Teaching, Learning, and Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Carl Woloszyk


This ex-post facto study was conducted to identify characteristics of successful online students with respect to: (a) gender; (b) age; (c) previous courses completed online; (d) ACT English, Reading, and Composite test score; (e) ASSET Reading and Writing test score; (f) grade point average of student upon completion of the course; (g) withdrawal from previous courses; (h) semester format (16-week vs. 8-week); (i) student status (full-time vs. part-time); and (j) attendance at orientation that will predict success. A small, rural community college in western Michigan participated in the study. The subjects included 179students in an online Introduction to Business course beginning with the fall semester 2000 through the summer semester 2003. Data were obtained from the college data files.

Pearson product-moment correlation was used to analyze the data. The results indicated that significant but weak correlations were found between grade in the online course and previous withdrawals, previous online courses, age, and ACT English test score. A significant, and the strongest association, was identified with grade point average. A significant and moderate association was identified with orientation attendance and ASSET Reading test score.

Results of the study indicated that selected characteristics are associated with success in an online course. Two characteristics may be used as a prediction of success in an online business course as indicated by the regression analysis. The two characteristics that are associated with the final grade in the courseinclude orientation attendance and grade point average. These two characteristics may be used to predict course grade for students that are interested intaking a course in an online format.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access