School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Michelle Barthlow


Religiosity, Sense of Community, Online Undergraduate Students


Education | Higher Education | Online and Distance Education


The introduction of the internet has had a profound effect on the way in which students learn. Students are no longer bound by the four walls of traditional classrooms because they can now receive their education through online courses. However, one of the largest hurdles that universities face with teaching online courses is keeping students enrolled. Many researchers have investigated why there is such a large drop-out rate for online courses, and several have found that a relationship between drop-out rates and sense of community in online course. Researchers have typically found that as sense of community increases the drop-out rate decreases. Therefore, it is imperative to study what causes sense of community to rise. This quantitative correlational study has investigated the relationship between sense of community and another factor, religiosity, to see if they are related. The purpose of this study was to add to the current research base on religiosity and sense of community. This study is important because its findings helped to shed light on why online, undergraduate level students drop out of their online college courses. A convenience sample of 95 online, undergraduate level students from a Southeastern United States University participated in the study. In this study, two separate instruments were used to measure the variables of religiosity and sense of community. Pearson’s r and Spearman’s r were calculated, and it was discovered that a relationship exists between religiosity and sense of community. It was concluded that universities should try to utilize students’ religiosity in the online classroom to help promote a sense of community. Future research should focus on the effect that religiosity has in both secular and religious universities.