Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Education

First Advisor

Phillis L. George


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



This study contributes to our understanding of online learning in a graduate program – the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) – designed to prepare practitioners to impact their local contexts, practices, and communities. Online learning is one of the fastest-growing trends in the instructional use of technology (Means, Toyama, Murphy, & Baki, 2013; Nguyen, 2015). However, the literature is scant on how graduate students learn in technology-rich environments. This study aimed to explore how graduate students perceive the online learning environment in an Ed.D. program at a public, not-for-profit research institution in the United States. Unequivocally, online education is ubiquitous. However, graduate students’ experiences are unique to the individual and the local context. This single, qualitative case study utilized students currently enrolled or recently graduated from the Ed.D. program to explore their experiences with online learning from the student’s perspective.

In addition to assessing graduate students’ perceptions of online learning, this study analyzed these experiences using the lens of constructivism, specifically the Community of Inquiry (COI) framework, to understand better how students construct knowledge and make sense of their learning. Findings from this qualitative case study indicate that learning is inherently social, and faculty should pay special attention to the instructional techniques used to create a more personalized learning experience.


Educational technology

Available for download on Friday, February 07, 2025