Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Larry Ebbers


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how adult college women attending rural community colleges experience being an online student. A study of this nature was warranted as enrollment in online courses continues to increase (Allen & Seaman, 2010) and as women are more likely to enroll in online courses (Kramarae, 2001; van Prummer, 2011). Femininst standpoint theory guided the study while identity theory (Stryker, 1968) was applied to findings. Online research methods were used to collect data. Four themes characterized participants online student experience: 1) motivation to enroll in online courses, 2) expectations and realities about online experience, 3) impact of identity (ies) on experience, and 4) meaning of being an online student. These findings could be used to help community colleges and other institutions of higher education to better understand how adult college women experience being online students. Faculty members who teach online courses or who are considering to teach online courses could benefit from these findings as could college staff members who work with adult online students. These findings could also benefit adult college women who are considering to enroll in online courses.


Copyright Owner

Lisa Carol Hetzel



File Format


File Size

171 pages