Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

Document Type

Restricted Dissertation


The primary purpose of this study was to examine the influence of selected types of interaction: Student-Instructor interaction, Student-Student interaction, and Student-Content interaction; and selected demographic characteristics on achievement of graduate students enrolled in an online engineering course at a university in the southeastern region of the United States. The study sample included 181 graduate students enrolled in an introductory level 7-week online course that was offered at different times between the fall semester of 2014 and the spring semester of 2016. The variables instructor, instructor preparation, course content, and course structure were integrated into the study design. The sampling plan involved the selection of students who enrolled in the same course and that were taught by the same instructor who had completed a training program in online teaching. Moreover, a score for the cognitive skill level targeted by the course and the degree of course alignment between learning objectives, learning activities, and the final exam was calculated using the Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. The demographic variables studied included gender, age, prior online learning experience, and undergraduate GPA. The selected interactions: Student-Instructor, Student-Student, and Student-Content interactions were measured in terms of frequencies and average time spent on selected type of interaction for each student throughout the 7-week course. Student achievement was operationalized as the final grades in the course. Three variables were significantly correlated with student achievement: Student-Student interaction frequency, Student-Content interaction mean time occurrence, and undergraduate GPA. Also, male achievement scores were higher than female scores, a statistically significant difference of t(179) = 2.486, p = .014, d = .07. Furthermore, a hierarchical regression analysis determined a statistically significant model that explains the variance in student achievement from the selected demographic and interaction variables R2 = .175, F(10, 170) = 30.740, p = .0005. The variables gender, undergraduate GPA, Student-Student interaction frequency, and Student-Content interaction frequency, were identified as significant contributors to the model. Based on the study findings the researcher recommends the integration of collaborative activities in the design of online learning given the significant contribution that Student-Student interactions made to student achievement.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Student has submitted appropriate documentation to restrict access to LSU for 365 days after which the document will be released for worldwide access.

Committee Chair

Burnett, Michael