School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Cristie McClendon


Middle School, Online Class Setting, Sense of Community, Students' Feelings, Traditional Class Setting, Virtual Class Setting


Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Educational Psychology | Online and Distance Education | Other Education


This study examined the difference between students’ sense of community in the traditional classroom setting versus the virtual classroom setting with middle school–age students. McMillan and Chavis’s sense of community theory served as the theoretical foundation of the study. A quantitative, causal-comparative design was utilized to determine the effects of the variables. Students at a public middle school in Virginia and a virtual middle school in Tennessee participated in this study. Seventy-eight students participated from the public middle school that constituted the traditional setting, and 60 students participated from the virtual middle school that constituted the virtual setting. The students completed the Sense of Community Index 2 (SCI-2) to generate the data for the study. Results of this survey were analyzed using a MANOVA, obtaining results for the students’ overall sense of community and the four subscales that made up this survey: reinforcement of needs, membership, influence, and shared emotional connection. Statistical significance was present, rejecting the null hypothesis or sub null hypothesis (post hoc) for the overall sense of community, reinforcement of needs, membership, and a shared emotional connection. The area of influence did not yield statistical significance; therefore, the sub null hypothesis (post hoc) failed to be rejected. Suggestions for future research were provided.