There was little evidence from the literature investigating the role of student-student interaction on the learning experience of doctoral learners of fully online US-based doctoral programs. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to describe the perceptions of online doctoral learners of their student-student interaction and its impact on their learning experience during their doctoral study at fully online US-based institutions. This research was situated based on the social presence theory, as peer interaction is the representation of social presence in online learning environments. Research questions explored the methods used for peer interaction and the impact peer interaction had on their learning experience during their doctoral study. Data were collected from in-depth Skype interviews and a focus group with a total of 16 online doctoral students. A theming process for data analysis was used to examine themes and interpret the lived experiences of participants. Findings revealed that peer interaction among doctoral students was perceived to possess specific attributes, such as reciprocal, intimate, immediate, therapeutic, and promotive and was facilitated through university-supported and peer-led communication settings as a social support network. Peer interaction was identified as a tool to help forming knowledge sharing communities among peers as well as help them with their active learning during the doctoral journey. The results could guide instructional designers and instructors to promote peer-led support networks.
|Commitee:||Girdley, Angela, Modrzejewski, Dan|
|School:||Grand Canyon University|
|Department:||College of Doctoral Studies|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/4(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Business administration, Higher education, Educational technology, Educational psychology, Educational administration, Instructional Design, Curriculum development|
|Keywords:||Learning experience, Online doctoral programs, Peer communities, Peer interaction, Social presence, Student-student interaction, U.S.-based educational institutions, Online degree, Peer-led support networks|
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