Does Online Outshine?: Online vs. Campus-Based Degree Withdrawal and Completion Rates within an MBA Program

Does Online Outshine?: Online vs. Campus-Based Degree Withdrawal and Completion Rates within an MBA Program

Belinda Patterson (East Carolina University, USA), William Mallett (East Carolina University, USA) and Cheryl McFadden (East Carolina University, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/ijopcd.2012010104
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This study examined how the method of instructional delivery, face-to-face or online, affected withdrawal and persistence/completion the rates of students who matriculated in either the campus-based or online track of the same Master’s of Business Administration program. A quantitative investigation was conducted to analyze the academic and demographic characteristics of degree-seeking students at a large university in the United States. Demographic variables included age and gender. Academic-related variables included program delivery mode, undergraduate grade point average, admission test scores, and grade point average at time of withdrawal or completion.
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Literature Review

One of the fastest growing online fields of study is the Master's of Business Administration. Of 2,577 institutions responding to a survey on online education, business programs continued to experience the highest online penetration rate at 33% (Allen & Seaman, 2008b). Online MBA programs constitute a new market comprised of both traditional and nontraditional students who work full-time and are often sponsored by their employers (Smith, 2001). Organizations are utilizing more online business courses, which professionals view as a viable alternative to campus-based face-to-face options (Kyle & Festervand, 2005).

Students and institutions alike are beneficiaries in the growth of online business education programs and classes. For students, online learning offers greater convenience, flexibility, and, in some cases, reduced educational costs. The constraints of time and distance are alleviated for professionals with family and job responsibilities, as well. For many institutions, online programs enhance efforts to fulfill their missions regarding educational access and outreach while increasing program inventory, enrollment, and, in many instances, university funding (Moore & Kearsley, 2005). Yet, with the proliferation of online education programs come questions of their effectiveness and quality. The online mode of instructional delivery, together with its accelerated growth rate, raises concerns among educational leaders and faculty about assuring the value and success of online MBA programs.

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