Examining the Impact of Interpersonal Interactions on Course-level Persistence Intentions Among Online Undergraduate Engineering Students

Javeed Kittur, Samantha Ruth Brunhaver, Jennifer M. Bekki, Eunsil Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

Abstract

This research paper examines the influence of interpersonal interactions on the course-level persistence intentions of online undergraduate engineering students. Online learning is increasing in enrollment and importance in engineering education. Online courses also continue to confront issues with comparatively higher course dropout levels than face-to-face courses. This study correspondingly explores relevant student perceptions of their online course experiences to better understand the factors that contribute to students' choices to remain in or drop out of their online undergraduate engineering courses. Data presented in this study were collected during fall 2019 and spring 2020 from three ABET-accredited online undergraduate engineering courses at a large southwestern public university: electrical engineering, engineering management, and software engineering. The data was collected during the pre-COVID time. Participants were asked to respond to surveys at 12-time points during their 7.5-week online course. Each survey measured students' perceptions of course LMS dialog, perceptions of instructor practices, and peer support for completing the course. Participants also reported their intentions to persist in the course during each survey administration. A multi-level modeling analysis revealed that the Perceptions of course LMS dialog, Perceptions of Instructor Practices, and Perceptions of Peer Support are related to Perceptions of course-level Persistence Intentions. Time was also a significant predictor of persistence intentions and indicated that the course persistence intentions decrease towards the end of the course. A multi-level modeling analysis revealed that LMS dialog, perceptions of instructor practices, and peer support are related to course persistence intentions. Time was also a significant predictor of persistence intentions and indicated that the course persistence intentions decrease towards the end of the course. Additionally, interactions between demographic variables and other predictors (Perceptions of course LMS dialogue, Perceptions of Instructor Practices, and Perceptions of Peer Support) were significant. With the increase in perceptions of course LMS dialog, perceptions of instructor practices, and perceptions of peer support, there was a relatively smaller increase in the persistence intentions of veterans than non-veterans. There is relatively more increase in the persistence intentions of females than males as their perceptions of instructor practices increase. Finally, increasing perceptions of peer support led to a relatively larger increase in the persistence intentions of non-transfer students than transfer students and a relatively smaller increase in persistence intentions of students working full-time than other students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jul 26 2021
Event2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jul 26 2021Jul 29 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

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