Exploring Online Graduate Student Experiences in Doctor of Education Programs at a Private Christian Institution: An Ecological Systems Theory Approach
Dallas Campus (Online)
Date of Award
Doctor of Education
Committee Chair or Primary Advisor
Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor
Third Committee Member or Committee Reader
This study explored the experiences of online Doctoral of Education students at a private Christian university, primarily considering how they perceived their communication and interaction with instructors and peers. A qualitative research method was used for case analysis, and was built upon the theoretical framework of Urie Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) ecological systems theory approach. The researcher implemented purposeful sampling to identify participants enrolled in the university’s fully online EdD program. Through virtual videoconference interviews at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, data were collected and analyzed to reflect emerging themes that encompassed two of the five levels of an individual’s ecological system: the mesosystem and microsystem. Results indicated that flexibility was important in online education, but synchronous interaction was highly valued and even sought out by students; in general, they reported positive support and encouragement at both the mesosystem and microsystem levels. Birthed from these results was the recommendation that organizational leaders can better equip themselves to communicate with current and future students by making a conscious effort to gauge student expectations, experiences, and perspectives.
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Sanders, Meagan K., "Exploring Online Graduate Student Experiences in Doctor of Education Programs at a Private Christian Institution: An Ecological Systems Theory Approach" (2020). Digital Commons @ ACU, Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 286.
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