Orientations help students transition into academic programs. At orientation, students learn how to navigate the university, and access support services, and build rapport with faculty, staff and other students. Few studies have explored the role of orientation in online programs. This qualitative case study explores the ways in which a three-day, in-person orientation impacted students’ sense of community in one online graduate program. Findings indicate that providing online students with unstructured, in-person opportunities for interaction helped them develop a sense of community.


Online Learning, Sense of Community, Orientation, Graduate Students, Case Study

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Sharla Berry is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at California Lutheran University. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: seberry@callutheran.edu.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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