Predicting sense of community among graduate students in a distance learning environment

Eric Tod Beeson*, Babatunde Aideyan, Christy O’ Shoney, Daniel A. Bowes, Kerryn L. Ansell, Holly M. Peterson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The purpose of the current study was to investigate the sense of community in graduate level distance education programs. This manuscript provides the results of a descriptive analysis of the existing sense of community among students while exploring the most robust prediction model to explain the variation. This cross-sectional analysis included 382 graduate students enrolled in various graduate programs delivered using the same instructional technology. The predictor variables were related to program characteristics (e.g., time spent in asynchronous coursework) and participants’ demographics (e.g., age). The outcome variables were the total sense of community, learning community subscale, and social community subscale scores from a revised Classroom Community Scale (Rovai, 2002b). Results showed that perceived outside interaction with students, sexual orientation, importance of sense of community, and outside interaction with faculty accounted a significant proportion of the variation in participants’ total sense of community scores. Importance of sense of community, outside interaction with students, and sexual orientation accounted for significant variation in participants’ social community subscale scores. Finally, sexual orientation, outside interaction with students, proficiency with technology, outside interactions with faculty, and age accounted for significant variation in participants’ learning community subscale scores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)746-753
Number of pages8
JournalUniversal Journal of Educational Research
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019

Keywords

  • Community
  • Distance education
  • Sense of community

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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