Persistence of Women in Online Degree-Completion Programs
Although online courses at postsecondary institutions promise adults access, flexibility, and convenience, many barriers to online learning remain. This article presents findings from a qualitative case study, which explored the phenomenon of undergraduate and graduate women learnersâ€™ persistence in online degree-completion programs at a college in the Northeast of the United States. Research questions asked why women learners persisted or failed to persist, and how factors supporting or hindering persistence influenced learners. Interviews with a purposeful sample of 20 participants revealed the complexity of variables affecting learnersâ€™ persistence to graduation. Findings suggested that multiple responsibilities, insufficient interaction with faculty, technology, and coursework ranked highest as barriers to womenâ€™s persistence. Strong motivation to complete degrees, engagement in the learning community, and appreciation for the convenience of an online degree-completion option facilitated persistence.