Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Flynn, Joseph E. (Associate professor)

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations


Curriculum development; Community college education; Distance education--Psychological aspects--Research; Community colleges--Curricula--Research; Teacher-student relationships--Research; Community psychology--Research


The purpose of this study was to determine if a relationship exists between sense of community, course performance, and college persistence in distance learning courses at a community college. Specifically, does sense of community improve course performance and college persistence? Course performance was measured using student self-reported end of semester grades. Furthermore, this study analyzed students short answer responses to help explain which distance learning classroom activities support sense of community. This correlational study was conducted at a community college in a large Midwestern suburb. Results from this study indicate sense of community has an impact on course performance, but not college persistence. Qualitative analyses show that student-instructor and student-student interactions are contributing factors that foster sense of community in the distance learning classroom. Recommendations for distance learning course development are discussed as well as recommendations for future research.


Advisors: Joseph Flynn.||Committee members: Kerry Burch; Rebecca Hunt.


203 pages




Northern Illinois University

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