Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The path to graduation: A model interactive Web site design supporting doctoral students
by Simmons-Johnson, Nicole, Ed.D., Pepperdine University, 2012, 287; 3516945
Abstract (Summary)

Objective. This 2-phase mixed method study assessed 2nd-year doctoral students' and dissertation students' perceptions of the current Graduate School of Education dissertation support Web site, with implications for designing a model dissertation support Web site.

Methods. Phase 1 collected quantitative and qualitative data through an anonymous electronic survey. Phase 2 consisted of 6 semistructured qualitative Skype interviews. Four themes emerged from the qualitative portion of the study: (a) Mentoring, (b) Student Support Groups, (c) Explicit functions and roles of Dissertation Chairpersons, and (d) the Opportunity to network and interact with dissertation students face-to-face or online.

Results. Of the respondents, 42.3% found the web content such as forms and resources helpful and 40% indicated the visual appearance was helpful. Overall, 8.3% were very satisfied, 16.7% were satisfied, 33% neutral, 33.3.% were dissatisfied, and 8.3% very dissatisfied with the current Web site. Among them, 78.3% would like to see e-mentoring implemented on the Web site and 83.3% would participate in a Dissertation Retreat/Bootcamp.

Conclusions. The findings concluded e-mentoring and webinars, as the 2 most desired Web 2.0 technology to enhance the current Web site. The data suggested the most desired type of formal or informal event to add to a model Web site is a Dissertation Retreat/Bootcamp.

Recommendations. Decision makers at the departmental and institutional level should strongly consider incorporating e-mentoring/peer mentoring, increased availability of dissertation chairpersons to walk students through the various stages of the dissertation process, a model of the entire process from start to finish, and the use of Web 2.0 tools to foster support and keep students connected, on the dissertation Web site. Using Appreciative Inquiry 4-D Model (Cooperider & Whitney, 2005) respondents highly recommended day-to-day support such as a dissertation hotline, real-time support, use of multimedia, student testimonials, and early awareness of the Web site resources and tools to make the dissertation Web site an exceptional highlight of the GSE.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rosensitto, Michelle
Commitee: Price, Senator Curren D., Jr., Schmieder, June
School: Pepperdine University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 73/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Web Studies, Organizational behavior, Educational technology, Higher education
Keywords: Attrition, Dissertation support, Mentoring, Organizational leadership, Program development & improvement, Student success, Web site
Publication Number: 3516945
ISBN: 978-1-267-46810-9
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