Date of Award

8-18-2014

Document Type

Restricted Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Learning, Leadership, and Community

Department

Department of Educational Leadership, Learning, and Curriculum

Committee Chair

Kathleen C. McCabe

Committee Member

Cheryl B. Baker

Committee Member

Elliott G. Grunner

Abstract

The purpose of this hermeneutic, phenomenological research was to conduct an investigation to determine the elements of an ideal course for adult learners enrolled in asynchronous online degree programs as expressed by those currently enrolled in such programs. Participants of this study included six adult learners enrolled in an online degree program at a rural, northeastern university referred to in this study as, Green Valley University. Participants, in this research, perceive an ideal online environment as one that retains elements of a traditional academic setting, including high quality professors and students, authentic learning opportunities, and a strong sense of community in the classroom, while maintaining the flexibility inherent of the asynchronous environment. Participants emphasized the importance of needing consistency across the discipline to limit confusion as they move from one course to another. Regarding their perception of andragogy, participants perceived only two of the eight andragogical design elements to be present, mutual design and diagnosing the needs of learners. The results of this research may benefit the greater community within higher education because lessons learned can help educators identify current procedures that could be enhanced or modified.

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