Community (in) Colleges: The Relationship Between Online Network Involvement and Academic Outcomes at a Community College

Eliza D. Evans, Daniel A. McFarland, Cecilia Rios-Aguilar, Regina Deil-Amen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective: This study explores the relationship between online social network involvement and academic outcomes among community college students. Prior theory hypothesizes that socio-academic moments are especially important for the integration of students into community colleges and that integration is related to academic outcomes. Online social networks offer a forum for socio-academic contact and integration on 2-year campuses. Is involvement with online social networks positively related to academic outcomes? Method: This study draws on institutional and online network data. We qualitatively code text from the network (N = 8,749) to examine the extent of socio-academic interaction. Using logistic and multiple regression, we examine the relationships between socio-academic exchanges, other forms of online network involvement, and student academic outcomes in a large sample of students (N = 27,040). Results: Participation in socio-academic exchange is associated with higher grade point average. In addition, the prior academic outcomes of a student’s online friends are predictive of the student’s own outcomes after joining the network, suggesting the possibility of peer effects. Other network behaviors are not significantly related to the academic outcomes we study. Contributions: This study is the first to consider online social networks as a forum for socio-academic integration at a community college. Our study fills a gap in the research literature with respect to understanding the socio-academic integration of community college students and the potential of social media to foster integration. Through our findings, this study offers strategic ways for practitioners to think about implementing social media to benefit students academically.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-254
Number of pages23
JournalCommunity College Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • academic outcomes
  • community college
  • online networks
  • socio-academic integration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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