Date of Award

Winter 2004

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

Dwight Allen

Committee Member

Maurice R. Berube

Committee Member

Yuping Liu


This study was designed to explore effective approaches that could help online students overcome online academic procrastination, raise their satisfaction ratings, and improve their academic performance.

The research was conducted at Old Dominion University, Virginia, with a sample of 165 undergraduate and graduate students (mean age = 30.67, SD = 8.98; male = 33, 20%, female = 132, 80%; undergraduate 95, 58%, graduate 70, 42%). The participants were taking an online course, Social and Cultural Foundations of American Education, required for teacher licensure. The treatments included the Choice Package (choice of assignment due dates, choice of rewards and punishments, and choice of reminders), and the Support Package (instructor-initiated support for self-regulation skills, technical mentoring, and affective social communication). Procrastination frequency, procrastination magnitude, students' satisfaction with the course, and academic performance were the four dependent variables. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected during the fall semester of 2003.

A factor analysis indicated that self-regulation ability, perfectionism, technical skills, and outside obligations (such as a job, child care, and household chores) were the four major factors affecting online procrastination. Three multiple regression analyses revealed respectively that older learners (more than 25 years old) tended to procrastinate less frequently, females had lower procrastination magnitude, and older learners and those with higher computer/Internet competency predicted better academic performance at a significant level. Results from a MANOVA analysis suggested that the Choice Package was effective in reducing online procrastination frequency and improving academic performance, while the Support Package had a significant impact on student satisfaction with the course. A significant interaction effect of choice by support was found on participants' academic performance and procrastination. Students who made a choice, either one, two, or three, from the items in the Choice Package, and received support, procrastinated the least and academically outperformed their counterparts. The qualitative data strongly corroborated the quantitative findings and provided insight into the dynamics of online learning. The statistical findings of this study and the participants' perceptions of the Choice Package and the Support Package provided new directions for further research and suggested new approaches for policy makers on instruction and curriculum reform within the online learning environment.


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