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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

Student Perceptions of Social Presence in an Online Foundations Course and Retention in Subsequent Semesters

Melissa Layne (American Public University System & Editor-in-Chief, Internet Learning, USA)
Wallace Boston (American Public University System, USA)
Phil Ice (American Public University System, USA)
Additional Authors
Elizabeth Wallace (American Public University System, USA)
Rob Mitchell (American Public University System, USA)
Session Information
October 14, 2015 - 3:45pm
Learning Effectiveness
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Research Study
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Asia 3
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 4

This presentation focus on a the results of a longitudinal study linking social presence in an introductory course and retention patterns.

Extended Abstract

As the growth of online programs continues to rapidly accelerate, concern over retention is increasing. Models for understanding student persistence in the face-to-face environment are well established, however, the many of the variables in these constructs are not present in the online environment or they manifest in significantly different ways. With attrition rates significantly higher than in face-to-face programs, the development of models to explain online retention is considered imperative. This study moves in that direction by exploring the relationship between indicators of the Community of Inquiry Framework's
Social Presence construct and student persistence. Analysis of over 148,000 student records and survey data demonstrates a significant amount of variance in re-enrollment can be accounted for by indicators of Social Presence.

Lead Presenter

Melissa Layne, Ed.D., Director of Research Methodology, American Public University System, Editor-in-Chief, Internet Learning. Layne earned her doctorate in reading (digital literacies) from Sam Houston University in Huntsville, TX. She has a master's in curriculum and instruction from University of Missouri-Columbia. Layne's research agenda includes topics on student retention, adaptive and personalized learning, multi-user virtual environments, self-paced instructional design and implementation, informal learning, and quality assurance in online learning at the institutional, program and course levels. Her work has been covered in 30 peer-reviewed journal publications, five book chapters, and 35 presentations. Layne also serves on the advisory council for the New Media Consortium and on the editorial board for the Internet and Higher Education journal.