Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Committee Chair(s)

Janice L. Hall


Janice L. Hall


Michael Freeman


Ruth Struyk


Nick Eastmond


Robert Heal


The purpose of this grounded theory study was to discover the factors that contribute to the success or failure of college algebra for students taking college algebra by distance education Internet, and then generate a theory of success or failure of the group of College Algebra Internet students at one Utah college. Qualitative data were collected and analyzed on students’ perceptions and perspectives of a College Algebra Internet course that they took during the spring or summer 2006 semesters at a bachelor’s degree-granting college in Utah. The participants were chosen from any of the six sections, and purposeful sampling was applied. Interviews played a major role in data collection. Each interview took place in person and was taped and later transcribed for analysis. The outcomes showed that one theme emerged as the catalyst for success for a College Algebra Internet student, that of self-responsibility. Four other themes found in the data helped, but were not necessary for success. Many enrolled based upon past experiences with personal environmental factors. It also helped to have a solid mathematical background, a good attitude, and a strong structural support network. However, those participants who prioritized and devoted their time to enriching their mathematical skills and staying focused on the goal had the most success in the course regardless of any other factor. By setting aside time and staying completely devoted to the course from the very beginning established, above all else, a successful outcome. Motivation to continue in this path occurred either from an outside influence or by an innate drive to be successful in the course.