Online Course Completion Rates and Quality Matters Course Templates: A Causal-Comparative Study at a Midwestern Community College

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Professional Studies in Instructional Design Leadership (DPS)

Committee Chair

Niccole Hyatt

Committee Member

Joel Gardner

Committee Member

Matthew Barclay


Online course persistence at community colleges is a serious issue, with students being between 3 and 15 percentage points more likely to withdraw than those taking the on-campus equivalent (Xu et al., 2019). Despite the continued growth in distance education, quality online course design is a concern throughout the literature. This quantitative, causal-comparative study aimed to investigate the existence of a statistically significant relationship between online course templates, using Quality Matters Specific Review Standards, and online course completion rates at one Midwestern Community College. An ex post facto causal-comparative method was chosen for this study because the Midwestern Community College progressively implemented Quality Matters Specific Review Standards over three Fall academic terms providing an opportunity to investigate increasing quality standards through online templates, retrospectively, in a naturally occurring environment. Descriptive Statistics, Linear Regression, and a One-Way ANOVA were employed in the data analysis. The study results revealed a statistically significant relationship between online course completion rates and online course templates using QM Specific Review Standards.