Date of Award

Winter 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Community College Leadership

Committee Director

Mitchell R. Williams

Committee Member

Alonzo Flowers

Committee Member

Cherng-Jyh Yen


Community colleges continue to increase online course offerings as these institutions strive to offer open access, cost effective education to a growing student population. With an increased student demand for online learning, community colleges should explore the possibility of offering all courses in the online environment, including science courses. The purpose of this quantitative research was to investigate the success of non-science major students in biology 102 on campus comparing students who completed biology 101 online to students who completed biology 101 on campus within Virginia community colleges. This was the first multi institutional, multi semester study of community college online biology and the first investigation to look at potential relationships between student success and student demographic characteristics, filling several gaps within the professional literature.

Ex post facto data were collected from the Virginia Community College System and analyzed through binary logistic regression. Mode of instruction in biology 101 was not predictive of student success in biology 102 on campus. Mode of instruction did not significantly impact the predictive relationship between student demographic characteristics and student success except for student gender. Male students who completed biology 101 online were significantly less likely to be successful in biology 102 on campus. Overall, the findings indicate that online biology is a viable option for community colleges to effectively serve a diverse student population. As emerging research, this study provides a baseline of student success within online biology and offers suggestions as to gaps remaining within the literature that can be investigated in future research.