Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Blue Robbins

Abstract

This qualitative case study examined the level of satisfaction among a group of adults ages 35 years and older enrolled in an online education program (OLEP) in a university in Puerto Rico. Although the current literature revealed that adult students 35 years and older are the fastest growing population enrolling in online college education programs in Puerto Rico, prior satisfaction studies conducted by this institution did not focus on this population. The theoretical framework of this study was guided by Holsapple and Lee's Post e-learning success model. The goal of this study was to understand students' satisfaction with the online program and determine if the program was helping them accomplish their goals. Data were collected through semi-structured individual interviews with 8 adult students, 35 years of age or older, who were currently enrolled at the institution. Data were analyzed using the category construction approach, open coding, and thematic analysis. Results indicated that the participants had a positive perception of the online program and its impact on their academic development and educational success. The data also revealed issues related to faculty-student communication and course design, which the participants believed needed to improve. The study's findings helped in the development of a best practice manual for the OLEP faculty. The manual will provide OLEP faculty with the tools needed to improve faculty-student communication and online course design, thereby increasing the student satisfaction among the fastest growing online student population. Improving its OLEP shows promise for the university to continue to be an agent of social change for Puerto Rico's economic growth and social progress.