An Examination of How Communications Impacted Stakeholder Understanding of Expectations, Sense of Connection, and Ability to Complete What was Expected of Them in an Inaugural, Online, Graduate Program

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ed.D. in Educational Leadership


School of Education and Health Sciences


Meredith Wronowski


In online programs, effective faculty-student interactions enhance achievement (Garrison and Arbaugh, 2007). This study examined how various communication techniques affected students' and faculty members' understanding of expectations, sense of connection, and ability to succeed in an online doctoral program. Grounded in the Core Principles of Improvement (Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate), this study examined viewpoints through a phenomenological, participatory action research approach. The findings revealed a persistent sense of uncertainty that impeded the success for many, but some used the shared uncertainty to forge small, strongly bonded relationships. Both students and faculty expressed a need for additional engagement and more timely and constructive input. They desired open forums, pre- and post-class mingling, monthly updates, and other interactive opportunities.


Adult Education, Communication, Continuing Education, Education, Educational Leadership, Pedagogy, online, education, graduate, communication, expectations, connection, success, phenomenological, participatory action research, uncertainty, student, faculty, engagement, achievement

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