Student Engagement in Online Graduate Program in Education: A Mixed-Methods Study

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This study examined the nature of student engagement, as reported by students enrolled in fully online Ed.D. and Ed.M. programs in an academic unit at a U.S. land-grant university. Using an explanatory sequential mixed-methods research design, a Web-based questionnaire was administered (n = 83) and follow-up interviews were conducted (n = 14). The result of an exploratory factor analysis of the survey data uncovered three factors in student engagement: emotional, social, and academic engagement. To gain a nuanced understanding of the identified factors, a content analysis of the interview data was conducted. Students’ feelings of being connected to and supported from faculty and other students as part of the online community of learning through connectivity and interactivity constituted emotional engagement while their relationships with faculty and other students through immediate faculty feedback and technology-mediated peer interactions covered social engagement. Students’ interest and investment in academic tasks as relevant for their dissertation project and career development comprised academic engagement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Journal of Distance Education
StateE-pub ahead of print - Feb 10 2023


  • online education
  • distance education
  • student engagement
  • EdD program
  • mixed methods research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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