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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Dennis C. Brennan

First Committee Member

Marilyn E. Draheim

Second Committee Member

Robert D. Morrow

Third Committee Member

Phillip N. Laughlin

Fourth Committee Member

Mari G. Irvin


Telecourses, as a form of distance learning, are an effective, accessible educational option for college students. However, there is evidence that attrition rates are high in telecourses which may be due, in large part, to the autonomous nature of such courses. This study investigated factors related to successful persistence in telecourses and attempted to identify a profile of the successful persister in terms of selected characteristics and specific motivation and learning strategies. Five research questions and sub questions were posed to elicit demographic, motivation and learning strategy information from successful (those with a grade of "C" or higher), unsuccessful (those with a grade of "D" or "F") and non-persisters (those who withdrew with a "W"). The study was conducted in three parts: (1) a review of 597 records of telecourse students between 1991 and 1995; (2) a telecourse questionnaire adapted from the Motivated Strategies for Learning instrument and completed by 53 telecourse students enrolled in Fall, 1995; and (3) interviews with ten students who received an "A" in a telecourse. Study findings revealed that successful persisters had a mean age of 33, a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, were majoring in the discipline of the telecourse, and worked 40 hours a week or more. All persisters had higher mean scores than non-persisters for the following scales: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Goal Orientation, Task Value, Self Efficacy for Learning and Performance. Successful persisters, alone, scored highest in Effort Regulation. Qualitative data from interviews confirmed that successful students were self-disciplined and able to manage their time and study environments. Based on the review of the literature and study findings, it was concluded that successful persisters share a number of characteristics which are factors in their ability to complete a telecourse with a passing grade. Students with strong self-management abilities were most likely to successfully persist.



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