Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Rachel Garcia, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Committee Member

Catia Cividini-Motta, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Committee Member

Kimberly Crosland, Ph.D., BCBA-D


distance learning, academic programs, students, virtual learning, peer interactions


Enrollment in online academic programs has increased substantially in recent years (Allen & Seaman, 2011) and is especially relevant due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Khalil et al., 2020). Peer interaction and engagement opportunities are strategies associated with course satisfaction, test performance, and grades and should be incorporated into online courses (Conaway et al. 2005). Group contingencies have been commonly studied in face-to-face classrooms and have been found to be effective intervention in changing target behavior in elementary and secondary education settings (Barrish et al., 1969; Deshais et al., 2019; Harris & Sherman, 1973; Mitchell et al. 2015; Wiskow et al., 2019), but has received limited attention in higher education, particularly interdependent group contingencies (Carroll & Williams, 2007; Cheatham et al., 2017; Speltz et al., 1979). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an interdependent group contingency on academic engagement among three online graduate cohorts. The results indicated an interdependent group contingency was not effective in increasing engagement and future research should be conducted to further evaluate the use of group contingencies in an online academic setting.