Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Stumpf, Arthur D.

Committee Member

Davis, James E.

Committee Member

King, Stephanie B.

Committee Member

Wiseman, William W.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Educational Leadership


The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between instructor interaction with students and retention in online classes in a rural community college classroom. The literature indicated that increased instructor/student interaction should lead to greater student satisfaction and retention in online instruction. The researcher operationalized interaction as announcements to the class, emails sent, amount of feedback given on assignments, and number of times the instructor logged into the course. Retention was measured by the number of students that successfully completed the class. Data were pulled from all online classes taught at Itawamba Community College during the fall 2013 semester. This data set included a total of 397 courses. Unique to this study was that all courses used standardized material that control for content delivery. This empirical study used a quantitative approach through a causal-comparative design. The statistics computed included descriptive statistics, Pearson’s product-moment correlation, and one-way ANOVA. In summary, the analysis did not support the research hypothesis in that there were no statistically significant differences in retention between the means of the instructors that met expected thresholds of the independent variables. Limitations in the current study may have influenced the outcome of the analysis and recommendations for further studies are discussed.