Building and Sustaining Community in an Online EdD Program
Keywords:building online community, online community, EdD program, sense of community, connectedness
In this essay, we have described how we build and sustain community in our online EdD program. Initially, we discussed our understanding of community and its influence on our efforts. Then, we discussed three important theoretical frameworks—Wenger’s Community of Practice, Garrison et al.’s Community of Inquiry, and Morris and Stommel’s Critical Digital Pedagogy—and how those frameworks helped to shape our efforts in building and sustaining an online community. Next, we discussed strategies/processes that we have successfully used to build and sustain community in our online program. These strategies were grouped around three kinds of relationships that have been central to community formation, interaction, and continuation—student-to-student, student-to-faculty, and student-to-broader-community. We discussed specific strategies such as the Leadership Challenge, Doctoral Research Conference, an online program “Hub,” comprehensive and immediate feedback, mentoring, and Leader Scholar Communities, that we have found to be particularly useful in building and sustaining an online community.
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