NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED574532
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Jan
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 32
What Motivates Community College Students to Enroll Online and Why It Matters. Insights on Equity and Outcomes. Issue 19
Fox, Heather L.
Office of Community College Research and Leadership
One of the strongest promises of online education is the potential that this modality could be used to increase access to postsecondary education opportunities and promote a democratic society of educated citizens (Dillon & Cintrón, 1997). Community colleges' use of online education is particularly important in light of the high proportion of underserved students they enroll and the potential for online education to reach underserved students, including disabled, rural, low-income, minority, and developmental students. Cox (2005) suggests, "for the community college sector, which enables access to higher education for the least-advantaged students, clarifying the current state of online practice is essential to preserving the democratizing aspects of public postsecondary schooling" (p. 1756). This study explores two research questions relating to the demand for online education at community colleges: (1) What factors motivate community college students to take online courses? and (2) What factors influence community college students' online course selection? Highlighted findings include: (1) Students use online education to engage in education while meeting a multiplex of responsibilities related to family, work, and community; (2) When selecting courses to take online, students carefully consider both the relative value and difficulty of each course; and (3) Online courses allow students to avoid perceived negative interactions they associate with being on campus.
Office of Community College Research and Leadership. 51 Gerty Drive Room 129, Champaign, IL 61820. Tel: 217-244-9390; Fax: 217-244-0851; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Illinois Community College Board
Authoring Institution: Illinois University, Office of Community College Research and Leadership