Description: This doctoral dissertation describes a research study that examined the effectiveness of an experimental Supplemental Instruction (SI) program that utilized computer-mediated communication (CMC) rather than traditional SI review sessions. During the Spring 1999 semester, six sections of an introductory computer course were offered via the Internet by a suburban community college district in Texas. Using Campbell and Stanley's Nonequivalent Control Group model, the online SI program was randomly assigned to four of the course sections with the two remaining sections serving as the control group. The students hired to lead the online review sessions participated in the traditional SI training programs at their colleges, and received training conducted by the researcher related to their roles as online discussion moderators. Following recommendations from Congos and Schoeps, the internal validity of the groups was confirmed by conducting independent t-tests comparing the students' cumulative credit hours, grade point averages, college entrance test scores, and first exam scores. The study's four null hypotheses were tested using multiple linear regression equations with alpha levels set at .01. Results indicated that the SI participants earned better course grades even though they had acquired fewer academic credits and had, on average, scored lower on their first course exams. Both the control group and the non-SI participants had average course grades of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale. The students who participated in at least one SI session had an average final course grade of 2.5, exceeding their previous grade point average of 2.15. Participation in one SI session using CMC was linked to a one-fourth letter grade improvement in students' final course grades. Although not statistically significant, on the average, SI participants had slightly better course retention, marginally increased course satisfaction, and fewer student-initiated contacts with their instructors.
Date: May 2000
Creator: Rockefeller, Debra J.