Factorial Validity and Reliability of the Sense of Community in Online Courses Scale

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Journal of Interactive Online Learning

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The alarmingly high rate of attrition in online courses results in many negative consequences for students, faculty, online institutions, and for society as a whole. One reason theorized for this attrition is a lack of a sense of community in online courses; however, there is much theoretical and empirical debate on what factors contribute to that sense of community. Therefore, in this article, we present a revised version of the Sense of Community in Online Courses Scale, which has 4 components and 16 items, and we provide evidence that the scale is reliable and has factorial validity. We also use structural equation modeling to examine the relationships among the components. It is our hope that this scale will be beneficial to researchers of online learning and to instructors of online courses interested in improving the sense of community, and reducing attrition, in their courses.