Author ORCID Identifier

Lucy R. Hudson:

Document Type

Doctor of Education Capstone

Original Publication Date



Virginia Community College System

Date of Submission

May 2022


Online learning has an increasingly greater presence in the higher education landscape. Students are able to earn a degree in fully online programs and take courses in modalities that offer the necessary convenience to balance multiple life priorities. The flexibility that online courses offer is valuable for adult learners with young children, students with disabilities including invisible and non-physical disabilities, or populations who must work to support families while pursuing an education. For these populations, community colleges play an important role in providing access to education as they enroll a greater number of adult students and have a higher percentage of minority students for whom having an online option is important. This broad mission of access is both commendable and challenging. The challenge is how to ensure success and increase completion while navigating a switch to online learning. This mixed method study combines three pieces of data and information to develop a sustainable online student success plan for the Virginia Community College System (VCCS). First, the study includes a literature review on best practices related to online student success and sustainable change management. Second, the study provides a detailed examination of student success web portals deployed by institutions. And lastly, the study included a survey and focus group interviews with VCSS administrators, faculty, and staff. The findings led to recommendations for a sustainable implementation plan to ensure online student success.


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