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Alice Eichholz


Online student success rates in community colleges have continued to fall below student success rates for their on-campus counterparts. The purpose of this causal-comparative quantitative study was to determine the difference in student success between students who used a hardcopy textbook for an online U.S. history course and students who used an online textbook at an urban community college in Texas while also investigating the influence of gender and ethnicity. Secondary data collected included final course grades from the course over a 10-year period with 9,115 students. The theoretical foundation focused on the deliberate construction of online course design and content to support student success from the perspective of Vygotsky’s scaffolding. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to analyze correlations between the 2 groups and the chi-square test was used to test if gender or ethnicity influenced the effects of the implementation of the online textbook on student pass/fail rates. The results of the Mann-Whitney U test indicated that providing the online textbook as compared to the traditional hardcopy textbook increased final course grades between the 2 groups. The results of the chi-square tests results showed a positive difference between groups for ethnicity but not for gender. The findings of this research inform educators and administrators of policies and practices that support student success by providing free embedded online course materials to students. Student completion of gateway courses can lead to further education, employment, and positive contributions as a member of society.

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