Dissertation Proposal Defense by Maureen A. Guarcello
Date and Time
Tuesday, June 24, 2014 from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Mother Rosalie Hill Hall, 201
San Diego, CA 92110
BLENDED LEARNING AND BOTTLENECKS IN THE CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM: AN EMPIRICAL LOOK AT THE IMPORTANCE OF DEMOGRAPHIC AND PERFORMANCE ANALYTICS
Despite years of continued decreases in state funding, almost 450,000 students enrolled during the 2013-14 academic year in the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system; unfortunately, many others were turned away due to capacity constraints. While overcrowding continues to plague many CSU campuses, the implementation of blended learning presents a potential solution to alleviate this growing problem. Because this pedagogy does not require a traditional brick and mortar venue, instead combining face-to-face and computer-mediated instruction, it offers one way to alleviate campus overcrowding and the ensuing bottlenecks that occur for students. In fact, this issue is important enough that in 2013 the CSU Chancellor’s Office and Board of Trustees began investigating solutions to bottlenecks on their campuses, defined as anything that limits
students’ ability to make progress toward a degree and graduate in a timely manner.
To investigate the extent to which blended learning may help alleviate student bottlenecks, this study will use an explanatory sequential design to focus on a particular undergraduate psychology course at San Diego State University that has enrolled more than 14,000 students over the last eight years. In the quantitative part of the study, both student demographics (supplied by the registrar) and course performance data (captured by their learning management system) will be used to explain variation in the withdrawal behavior of students, their success in passing the course, and their performance in the course as represented by their final grade. Based on these findings, the qualitative part of the study will then provide a more nuanced look at potential explanations for these findings by conducting in-depth interviews with select groups of students.
Given the paucity of existing research in this area, the study will contribute to both the theory and practice of blended learning in a number of important ways. For example, the ability to understand those most at risk of either dropping, failing, or
performing poorly in a blended learning class will help both students and administrators alike in promoting success; similarly, understanding the many reasons that students engage in less than successful behavior can help advisors design strategies that alleviate bottlenecks system-wide.
**USD graduate students and faculty are welcome.