Fischler College of Education: Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 12-8-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Abraham S. Fischler College of Education

Advisor

Dr. Gina Peyton

Committee Member

Dr. Robert Scheidet

Committee Member

Dr. David Weintraub

Abstract

This applied dissertation was designed to understand and explore the experiences of graduate students at a public four-year higher education institution in the southeastern region of the United States. This study utilized an interview based phenomenological qualitative study design approach for data collection and analysis. Committees in the field of higher education reviewed and approved the interview protocol. The research study and data analysis were conducted in the Spring Semester of 2017. The researcher employed semi-structured interviews that were guided by ten protocol questions. Transcription accuracy, credibility, and trustworthiness were established through diligent adherence to university protocols. The collected data revealed themes that supported the researchers’ understanding of graduate students’ perception of engagement and experiences in face-to-face, online, and blended classroom settings.

The qualitative research study provides in-depth insight for future enrollees and program development. The selected institution’s IRB and Nova Southeastern University’s IRB granted permission to conduct the study. A phenomenological approach was used to maximize exploration of graduate students’ perception of engagement and experiences in face-to-face, online, and blended graduate level classroom settings. Ten protocol questions guided the semi-structured interviews. Subsequent to the scheduled 60-minute interviews, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to describe the meaning of several individuals’ perceptions. The most prevalent theme that emerged was a lack of meaningful social interaction, or student engagement, in online formats. Once the data had been analyzed, recommendations for future research were provided to support the needs of a graduate student population on university campuses.