Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Davis, James

Committee Member

Mathews, Jerry

Committee Member

Wiseman, Marty

Committee Member

Stonecypher, Wayne

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Instructional Systems, Leadership and Workforce Development


Online education has grown substantially over the years because of the flexibility it has given the student in acquiring an education. For many, higher education is now a reality instead of just a dream. With this educational format, traditional and non-traditional students are taking classes to obtain a degree or pursue lifelong learning. Unfortunately, some students are taking online classes without being equipped with the necessary skills required for successful completion. The purpose of the evaluation was to investigate the readiness factors of students taking online classes. The Readiness for Education At a Distance Indicator (READI) assessment was completed by students registered for online classes at Itawamba Community College in the fall 2007 semester. A sample of 250 students was randomly selected from the population. The instrument used in the study is adapted from larger instruments and has been tested for reliability and validity. The READI assessment results included variables of individual attributes, technical competency (computer and Internet), technical knowledge, reading comprehension, typing speed and proficiency, and learning styles – visual, social, physical, aural, verbal, solitary, and logical. Additionally, institutional educational variables included in the evaluation were ACT scores, online courses completed, total semester hours completed, and cumulative grade point average. Descriptive statistics were given for the variables and the correlational research findings were presented in respect to the research questions. Stepwise Multiple Regression statistical analysis was conducted to determine the correlation between the measurement variables and educational variables. Individual Attributes, Reading Comprehension, and Logical Learning Style were the contributory success factors in the online classroom. The analysis revealed that Reading Comprehension correlated to the ACT score and Verbal Learning Style correlated to online course completed.