Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career, and Higher Education

Major Professor

Thomas Miller

Keywords

FaceBook, Grade Point Average, Student Activities, University Students, Use of Time

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to understand the relationship between time spent by students engaged in student co-curricular involvement, online social networking, and studying on their academic achievement. Additional factors such as student residence, gender, ethnicity, class standing and work for pay were also considered. Existing literature supports the concept that the more time students spend in educationally purposeful activities, the more likely students are going to be successful. Little research exists regarding the use of current versions of online social networking, and the relationship it might have to student academic achievement as measured by grade point average. Therefore, this study was intended to further our understanding of these factors.

Data for this quantitative study came from an online administration of a survey. The survey was disseminated to students who were enrolled at a large, public research institution in the southeastern United States and who were additionally registered in the institution's database of student organization officers during the fall 2010 semester. The number of respondents was 613, which was a 28% response rate. A multiple regression analysis was used along with other statistical analysis. Descriptive statistics were analyzed for all variables. All data was self-reported by students.

This study yielded several statistically significant findings however the effect sizes for most of the regression models was low. The findings showed statistically significant, negative correlations between the number of hours spent by students engaged in co-curricular involvement and online social networking as it relates to grade point average. Additionally, studying and doing coursework was positively correlated with grade point average. Lastly, work for pay off-campus was negatively correlated with grade point average.

Additional data analysis was conducted excluding graduate students who had originally completed the survey. This data analysis included 474 respondents. The regression models which excluded graduate students did not yield large effect sizes. Co-curricular student involvement and online social networking did have statistically significant, negative correlations with grade point average but less so than in the original analysis. These findings were despite the reported increase in the number of hours spent per week engaged in co-curricular involvement and online social networking. Work for pay off campus was more significantly negative.

The findings of this study both supported and conflicted with existing literature on these topics. The finding of statistical significance for most variables can most likely be attributed to the large sample size in the study. These findings offer additional opportunities for research by other student affairs practitioners who are interested in student success factors like those included in this study.

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