Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Brian Gerber



Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair

Wendy Griswold

Committee Member

Edith Gnanadass

Committee Member

Donna Menke

Committee Member

Colton Cockrum


The number of community college students taking online courses has steadily increased, which includes students enrolling in online developmental courses. Community colleges have largely embraced online learning in order to improve student access, but many difficulties (e.g. low passing rates, high withdrawal rates) have been discovered in the area of online learning. Therefore, the purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the experiences of community college students in online developmental courses. The research question that guided this study was: 1.Using Transactional Distance Theory, what is the experience of community college students in online developmental courses?Data was collected using phenomenological semi-structured interviews. Open coding and thematic analysis were used to determine the common experiences shared by community college students in online developmental courses. Results indicated that the majority of students did not appear to experience great amounts of transactional distance in their online developmental courses. Students also largely spoke of quality dialogue with their instructor, a disconnect from classmates, a well-organized structure, no desire to have autonomy in course content selection, and a desire for autonomy with self-paced online developmental courses. Future research is recommended to understand the experiences of community college students enrolled in online developmental courses.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest