Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Human Resource Education

Committee Chair

Rude-Parkins, Carolyn

Author's Keywords

Persistence; Distance education; Computer self-efficacy; Gender role


Distance education; College dropouts--Prevention; College attendance


The purpose of this exploratory study was to identify which factors predict persistence among a sample of distance education students. Age, gender, GPA, computer experience, computer self-efficacy, and gender role were examined in relation to persistence (i.e., successful completion of a course). A Web-based survey was administered to a convenience sample of undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled in distance education courses at four colleges in the state of Kentucky ( N = 293), during the Fall 2005 and Spring 2006 semesters. The survey instrument consisted of background/demographic questions, the Computer User Self-efficacy (CUSE) Scale, and the Personal Attributes Questionnaire (PAQ). Correlations, one-way ANOVAs, multiple regressions, logistic regression, and hierarchical logistic regression were performed on the data. Additionally, factor analyses were used to examine the factor structure of the CUSE Scale. Major findings include: (a) a moderate relationship between age and GPA ( r 2 = .12); (b) a relationship between the CUSE score and the masculine subscale score on the PAQ ( r = .180, p < .01); (c) GPA was the only statistically significant predictor of persistence (â = .891, p = .018) of all the variables included in the logistic regression model; (d) a three-factor solution on the CUSE Scale was obtained. Additional results, conclusions, theoretical extensions, recommendations for future research and practice are presented.