Douglas Olson

Publication Date

Fall 2011

Document Type


First Advisor

Rose, Amy

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling, Adult, and Higher Education


This study examined the relationship between community college student engagement and student usage of online social networking. This was a secondary analysis of data using a random subsample of 141,190 respondents from the 2009 Community College Survey on Student Engagement (CCSSE) Cohort data set. Three research questions guided this study: What is the frequency of community college student usage of online social networking for: (a) general purposes? (b) academic purposes? Does the frequency of use of online social networking for academic purposes differ according to the following variables: age, enrollment status, ethnicity, gender, urbanicity, and developmental education status? Are there significant differences in the level of student engagement of community college students, as measured by the following CCSSE benchmarks, depending upon their frequency of use of online social networking for academic purposes: active and collaborative learning; academic challenge; student-faculty interaction; and support for learners.

The data were analyzed to determine differences in levels of engagement based on the frequency of use of online social networking for general and academic purposes. Research question one was answered using descriptive statistics. Research question two was answered by completing one-way ANOVAs for the age, ethnicity, urbanicity and development education variables, and independent t tests were conducted for the enrollment development education, and gender variables. Research question three was answered using a one-way ANOVA to look at student engagement for each of the four individual CCSSE benchmarks.

The results indicated that community college students were frequent users of online social networking, more so for general purposes rather than for academic purposes. Additionally, enrollment status, academic challenge, and support for learners' had small effect sizes. Age, active and collaborative learning and student-faculty interaction demonstrated medium effect sizes. More importantly, there were statistical differences in students' levels of engagement on CCSSE benchmarks based on frequency of use of online social networking. Community college students who frequently used online social networking for academic purposes experienced greater levels of engagement for active and collaborative learning, academic challenge, student-faculty interaction, and support for learners' benchmarks.


165 pages




Northern Illinois University

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