Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University

Advisor

Adams, James

Committee Member

Hare, Dwight

Committee Member

Olinzock, Anthony

Committee Member

Forde, Connie

Committee Member

Bowen, Marilyn

Date of Degree

5-1-2011

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Abstract

This study investigated why professional development courses that are taken by educators at the Research and Curriculum Unit (RCU) of Mississippi State University (MSU) were or were not completed. By considering the results from this investigation, the course developers for future online courses can improve the courses offered to help increase participant retention. style='mso-spacerun:yes'> There were 4 research questions investigated for this study to help understand how to improve future course offerings: style='mso-spacerun:yes'> style='msoareastontamily:"Times New Roman"'>1. style='font:7.0pt "Times New Roman"'> Why did the participants of online professional development enroll initially? style='msoareastontamily:"Times New Roman"'>2. style='font:7.0pt "Times New Roman"'> Why did the completers finish the online professional development? style='msoareastontamily:"Times New Roman"'>3. style='font:7.0pt "Times New Roman"'> Why did the non-completers not finish the online professional development? style='msoareastontamily:"Times New Roman"'>4. style='font:7.0pt "Times New Roman"'> What does the facilitator perceive as the reasons completers complete and non-completers do not complete the course? Data for this study were from 10 online professional development courses taken by educators through the RCU. style='mso-spacerun:yes'> The participants agreeing to participate were asked to complete a beginning and ending survey and an end-of-course evaluation. They were also asked to participate in an interview when the online professional course was finished. Facilitators of the online professional development courses completed a beginning survey and participated in interviews. Recommendations were made for future researchers and online course developers. style='msoareastontamily:"Times New Roman"'>1. style='font:7.0pt "Times New Roman"'>Participants pay for the online professional development course before the course begins. style='msoareastontamily:"Times New Roman"'>2. style='font:7.0pt "Times New Roman"'> All courses have posted technical requirements for participants to have a successful course completion. style='msoareastontamily:"Times New Roman"'>3. style='font:7.0pt "Times New Roman"'> Courses should have multiple modes of delivery of information to participants – email, discussion boards, wikis, blogs, and virtual classrooms to name only a few options. style='msoareastontamily:"Times New Roman"'>4. style='font:7.0pt "Times New Roman"'> Ways to increase completion rates should be investigated. style='msoareastontamily:"Times New Roman"'>5. style='font:7.0pt "Times New Roman"'>The RCU should institute a research policy for every course where enrollees are tracked. style='msoareastontamily:"Times New Roman"'>6. style='font:7.0pt "Times New Roman"'>As part of RCU quality assurance, the format of the surveys should be investigated. style='msoareastontamily:"Times New Roman"'>7. style='font:7.0pt "Times New Roman"'> Future studies include courses from other entities over a longer time frame. style='msoareastontamily:"Times New Roman"'>8. style='font:7.0pt "Times New Roman"'> Future studies should investigate payment options of other entities offering online professional development. style='msoareastontamily:"Times New Roman"'>9. style='font:7.0pt "Times New Roman"'> Facilitator differences should be analyzed in future studies. style='msoareastontamily:"Times New Roman"'>10. style='font:7.0pt "Times New Roman"'> Future studies should investigate other entities’ facilr practices.

URI

https://hdl.handle.net/11668/16391

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