Rachel Shibley

Indicators of Persistence to Graduation

Fall 2008 - Spring 2009

Advisors: Dr. Maria Zack and Dr. Greg Crow

The objective of this project is to discover to what degree certain factors correlate with the length of time it takes a student to graduate from Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU). This was done by collecting and analyzing data on the Fall 2001 first-time freshmen cohort and its transfer pseudo-cohorts. The data considered includes the student’s declared major, housing, hours of classes taken that received a grade of D or F, and hours of classes the student has enrolled in, attended, and earned for each semester between Fall 2001 and Spring 2007. These results may be applied towards pinpointing which students may require an extended period of time to graduate or are at risk of dropping out, thus guiding faculty and staff towards students most in need of assistance.

 

Anna Hail

The Prevalence of Problematic Computer Gaming at PLNU

Summer 2008 - Spring 2009

Advisor: Dr. Lori Carter

Over the years, computers have changed the face of college life, providing a large number of tools and resources for students. Along with these benefits, computers have also brought access to individual and multi-player games that are developed to maintain players’ attention spans for long periods of time. The research behind this paper suggests that students may lose focus in their academic, social, or professional endeavors due solely to the playing of computer games. Results from a survey taken by 640 Point Loma Nazarene University undergraduate students revealed that approximately 6% of the student body may be experiencing negative academic, social, or professional repercussions of playing computer games. This paper presents these results, along with additional information concerning other research in this field, the methodology used in the survey, what students are most at risk, why they play, and how their play has changed upon entering college.

 

Sarah Lauff

Institutional Research: Freshman Retention and Cafeteria Patterns

Fall 2008 - Spring 2009

Advisors: Dr. Maria Zack and Dr. Greg Crow

Every year, millions of students enter college and struggle to adapt to their new environment. Most young adults acclimate quickly to these new surroundings, while others have difficulty adjusting. This research seeks to identify correlations between freshman retention and variables such as cafeteria patterns, units achieved, and dorm information in order to predict the likelihood of attrition. With the results from this study, the school would be able to implement a computer algorithm in order to help assess if a student is a candidate for leaving the university.

 

Catherine Marcarelli

Bridging the Technology Gap: An Analysis of Industry Needs and Student Skills

Fall 2008 - Spring 2009

Advisor: Dr. Lori Carter

Discussions with individuals in industry and with students of Point Loma Nazarene University uncovered a potential disconnect in technology skills. The computer skills our students are acquiring might not fully match up with the current needs in the workforce. The goal of this research is to uncover any gaps in computer knowledge and suggest ways to diminish any such gaps that might exist between these two arenas. To accomplish this, interviews were conducted with twenty alumni from various disciplines in order to discover the technology skills needed by professionals in their fields. Additionally, a survey was distributed to all undergraduate students to determine their knowledge of key computer skills. Results from these inquiries will be discussed in an effort to assess student technological preparedness. Furthermore, previous research focused on developing a computer literacy model that would meet the needs of students of the many disciplines on campus. This previous research resulted in the development and implementation of one-unit module courses in Excel, Internet Research, Presentation Software, and Databases which replaced the traditional course offering a survey of Microsoft Office. The current research seeks to further refine this new curriculum using the new insights gained from students and individuals in industry.

 

Alana Nichol

Student Entry, Exit, and Reentry Points at PLNU

Summer 2008 - Spring 2009

Advisors: Dr. Maria Zack and Dr. Greg Crow

Point Loma Nazarene University has a good understanding of its students’ admissions profiles, freshman retention rates, graduation rates, and degrees granted. However, detailed information is needed on student entry and exit points, particularly on transfer students and gaps in students’ time attending PLNU. Most previous research has only involved first-time freshmen, but comparing this group with transfer students will create a better model of the student body. The objective is to create a model that accurately describes, and gives an overall understanding of, student entry, exit, and reentry points. The points will be examined in three specific areas: what levels of students, determined by class standing, are at the school in a given semester, what each cohort, or group of students that started together as freshmen, does over time, and how these cohorts compare. Through this analysis PLNU will be better able to understand the student body and to serve these students with more quality and efficiency in the future.

 

Greg Rhodes

Elliptic Curve Cryptography

Summer 2008 - Spring 2009

Advisor: Dr. Jesus Jimenez

The goal of this project is to introduce the use of elliptic curves over finite fields to do cryptography. The procedures and prerequisites are presented to insure an understanding in the increasingly important field of study. A group structure will be given to the points on an elliptic curve. The elliptic curve will be chosen to have order divisible by a large prime, and on this group, the El Gamal encryption can be done to guarantee a confidential, authentic, and unimpaired message. This project is intended to bring an insight into what goes on behind the scenes of information security, and as the world continues to become more connected online, encourage further study in the area.