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Session Overview
PAP-02: Higher Education
Time: Tuesday, 28/Aug/2012: 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Session Chair: Taiga Brahm, University of St. Gallen
Location: 254


Students' Withdrawal Rate and Course Grades in In-person and Online Courses

Joan H. Rollins, Katelyn E. Paquin

Rhode Island College, United States of America

The purpose of this research is to investigate relationships between online college courses and in-person courses with regard to student course completion rate and course grade averages. The personality characteristics of introversion, conscientiousness and self-regulation were also examined in relation to performance in online and in-person classes. This study was based on an integrative theory of self- and social regulation in learning contexts, that self-regulation and coregulation systems operate as collaborative learning (Volet, Vauras, & Salonen, 2009).

A two-tailed t-test for independent samples found no significant difference between the course GPAs of students in the online or in-person courses. In the Social Psychology course, 20 students from an enrollment of 93 students withdrew from the online course, compared to 15 students who withdrew from an enrollment of 190 students in the lecture course. The results of a Chi square test comparing the withdrawal rate of students in the lecture and hybrid Social Psychology course was statistically significant (p > .001). In the Finance in-person class one withdrew and two withdrew from the online course. Students are much more likely to withdraw from a large online course than from a large lecture course. No significant differences were found, however, between personality characteristics and GPA. This was probably due to the fact that the questionnaires were administered at the end of the semester, after students who withdrew from the courses had done so.

Are Business School Students' Only Determined by Extrinsic Motivation? First results of a longitudinal study

Taiga Brahm

University of St. Gallen, Switzerland

The proposed paper aims to investigate the longitudinal development of students' motivation over the first year of their studies at a business school. The study tackles the following core research questions: How do first-year university students' intrinsic, extrinsic, and task motivation vary over time? Which (motivational) factors are related to students' confidence in academic success? Although motivational dispositions have been analyzed extensively in previous studies, their longitudinal development has hitherto not been examined in the higher education context.

This longitudinal study is conducted at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. The current sample includes 410 first-year students who have already been surveyed twice (out of three survey dates) and who are representative of the first-year student population.

Results show that prior to their studies, students were motivated most by intrinsic factors, however, extrinsic motivation was also quite high. While extrinsic motivation has remained stable over the course of the first semester (4 months), intrinsic motivation, task motivation and self-efficacy have declined significantly. In addition, we found that extrinsic motivation is related to the students' expected study performance.

The study contributes to motivation theory by providing further insights into the development of motivation over time. Furthermore, the study suggests that factors influencing students' motivational development, e.g. positive emotions during learning, should be taken into account when designing courses and study programs in higher education.

Student Engagement in the Final Dissertation: An Integrative View

Serge Dupont1, Benoît Galand1, Frédéric Nils2

1University of Louvain, Belgium; 2Facultés Universitaires de Saint-Louis

Theoretical assumptions about student engagement claim that the social context promotes people’s self-perceptions, which, in turn, influence their engagement in a learning task (Skinner, Furrer, Marchand, & Kindermann, 2008; Skinner, Wellborn, & Connell, 1990). The present study aimed (1) to test a theoretically-based model including the extent to which the social context provides structure, warmth and autonomy support, the students’ self-perceptions of being autonomous, related and competent, and behavioral, cognitive and emotional student engagement (previous studies based on this theoretical assumption have focused on behavioral and emotional student engagement) and (2) to test this model in the context of the completion of the final dissertation during the last year at university (a less constrained context that those previously investigated at high school).Three hundred and thirty one participants in the last year at the university completed a self-reported questionnaire tapping the targeted variables. Structural equation modeling (SEM) analysis revealed that the social context predicted participants’ self-perceptions of being autonomous, competent and related, which in turn predicted better behavioral, cognitive and emotional engagement. Cognitive engagement was independently predicted by the three participants’ self-perception scales, and indirectly by the different facets of the social context.

The Impact of Motivation and Cognition on Conceptual Change

Gita Taasoobshirazi, Gale Sinatra

Kennesaw State University, United States of America

A model of conceptual change in physics was tested on introductory-level, college physics students. Structural equation modeling was used to test hypothesized relationships among variables linked to conceptual change in physics including motivation, personal relevance, need for cognition, and course grade. Conceptual change in physics was established using gains from pre to post administration of the Force Concept Inventory. Results indicated that need for cognition and personal relevance had a significant influence on motivation. Motivation influenced change scores on the Force Concept Inventory both directly, and indirectly, through final course grade in the class. Finally, course grade directly influenced conceptual change. The implications of these findings for future research and developing students’ conceptual change in physics are discussed.

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