Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Community College Leadership

Committee Director

Dana Burnett

Committee Member

Jill C. Dustin

Committee Member

Cherng-Jyh Yen


Career decision making difficulty, as it relates to undecided college students and career indecision, has been a concern for counselors and academic advisors for decades (Gordon, 2006; Mau, 2004). Individuals struggling with career indecision often seek assistance via career counseling, self-help tools, and/or computer-assisted career guidance systems (Gati, Gadassi, & Shemesh, 2005). The past decade has brought a large increase in the development of a number of web-based career guidance systems (CGS) (Bobek, Robbins, Gore, Harris-Bowlsbey, Lapan, Dahir, & Jepsen, 2005). Despite the rapid growth in the type and use of computer-assisted CGS, little empirical research has been conducted on the effectiveness of the systems as career decision making tools (Bloch, 2006; Fowkes & McWhirter, 2007; Gati, Kleinam, Saka, & Zakai, 2003; Mau, 1999). The purpose of this preliminary quantitative study was to assess the effectiveness of a web-based career development workshop to change career decision making difficulty of undecided community college distance learners. The results of this study will be used to determine the feasibility of incorporating the workshop into academic advising, career advising, and the curriculum of a College Success Course (CSC).

A pretest/posttest, between groups comparison design was used to assess change in career decision making difficulty. The Career Decision making Difficulties Questionnaire (CDDQ) (Gati, Krausz, & Osipow, 1996) was used to measure change in mean pretest and posttests scores on each of three variables: 1) lack of readiness, 2) lack of information, and 3) inconsistent information. The revealed t tests change in career decision making difficulty for each variable were not statistically significant. However, participants who completed the web-based career development workshop reported a reduction in difficulty for more variables than participants who completed a web-based CGS as a stand-alone intervention.

As technology continues to influence distance-learning, it has also influenced various educational and administrative functions of student affairs (Moneta, 1997; Moneta, 2005). Online student support services allow institutions to meet the needs of the millennial student who has grown up with a computer generation and expects to be able to locate information electronically (Pullan, 2009), as well as the distance-learner, campus-based learner, or hybrid learner who needs to access information outside of traditional office hours. CGS have practical implications for student services support functions such as academic and career advising, and college success courses. Academic or career advising sessions, as well as CSC's, are ideal avenues to introduce students, who may not be aware of their existence or benefit to assist with career decision making, to web-based CGS.


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