The W Study

W Study Report Now Available!


The W Study was completed mid-2010 and the report is now available.  An excerpt from the report:


“Distance Education has finally come of age and is now widely accepted as a serious player on the Higher Education turf. The growing pains, however, continue into adulthood: the accomplishments in “student access” have to be matched by advances in “student success”, and, in turn, any contending definition of “student success” has to be matched by the rigor of its measurement. For most Distance Educators, researchers included, this was and still is a tall order with a long list of thorny issues. Course level retention in online courses is one of the thornier ones. It is irksome by itself, but in addition, it is charged politically because College Presidents are prone to pick up reports to the effect that retention in online courses is anywhere from 5% to 10% lower than in on-campus counterparts. They wonder why.”

For the complete report, click on the links below. (note: due to the size, appendix B is not listed below.  If you would like a copy of appendix B, email me at ).   



In 2007 FCC conducted a telephone survey among students who had withdrawn from an online course. From a sample of 356 students 100 telephone interviews were successfully completed. The purpose of the survey was to find out why students withdraw from online courses. Specifically, the survey was designed to test the hypothesis that there is a statistically significant overlap between the reasons why the course is taken online and the reasons why the course is dropped.


Proposed Goals:

1.         Short term: to replicate the FCC survey in Community Colleges across the State of Maryland and acquire a larger data set to validate or modify the initial findings and add demographic variables to the data analysis.


2.         Long term: To establish patterns and protocols of data collection, configured to create a bank of qualitative data (retention, intervention strategies etc.) that could be used by member institutions to interpret and evaluate their data in a larger context.