Community College Online Course Retention and Final Grade: Predictability of Social Presence

Dr. Simon Y. Liu
George Washington University

Dr. Joel Gomez
George Washington University

Dr. Cherng-Jyh Yen
Old Dominion University


This study employed a quantitative research design to examine the predictive relationships between social presence and course retention as well as final grade in community college online courses. Social presence is defined as the degree of one’s feeling, perception and reaction to another intellectual entity in the online environment. Course final grades included A, B. C, D, F, I, or W. Course retention was defined as successfully completed a course with an A to C grade. The results of the binary and ordinal logistic regression analyses suggest that social presence is a significant predictor of course retention and final grade in the community college online environment. Two effective interventions are recommended: establishing integrated social and learning communities; and building effective blended learning programs.

About the Author(s)...

Simon Y. Liu is a graduate from the Higher Education Administration Doctoral Program at the George Washington University. Dr. Liu’s research interests include distance education, online learning, self directed learning, and communication college education.

Joel Gomez is Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Interim Associate Dean for Research at the George Washington University. Dr. Gomez’s research interests include education policy, Latinos in higher education, bilingual education, English as a second language, and school reform.

Cherng-Jyh Yen is Assistant Professor of Darden College of Education at the Old Dominion University. Dr. Yen’s research interests include education research methodology, quantitative analysis, and educational statistics.

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