Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Leah Wickersham-Fish

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Jennifer Duffy

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Antonina Lukenchuk


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.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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