Limited-residency and online doctoral programs have an attrition rate significantly higher than traditional programs. This grounded-theory study focused on issues pertaining to communication between students, their peers and faculty and how interpersonal communication may affect persistence. Data were collected from 17 students actively working on their dissertation in a limited-residency educational technology program. The resultant theory indicated that students felt communication between themselves and peers is possible but not common. Students also indicated that dissertation supervisors are readily accessible but longer than expected response times may contribute to a lack of student success. The results suggest the development and effective use of an online community of practice will support the communication needs of students and faculty.


Doctoral Study, Dissertation, Attrition, Limited-Residency, Online Communities of Practice, Qualitative Research

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