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Timothy Powell


Recent research suggests a lack of information about the experiences of first-generation doctoral men who have moved from ground-based education to online education, which can negatively impact program completion for this group. This collective case study investigated the experiences of a group of first-generation doctoral male students attempting doctoral-level online education for the first time, in particular, to identify and develop a deep understanding of their experiences in interacting, participating, communicating, and relating with colleagues and instructors. The conceptual frameworks of the study were connectivism, experiential learning, symbolic interactionism, and constructionism. Data were collected through participant questionnaires, Skype interviews, and blogs, and analyzed using Microsoft Excel, Quicktime software, and NVivo to develop themes and codes that were intuitively constructed by the researcher. The study results provided evidence of limited interaction, participation, communication, group work or collaboration, and personal relationships with colleagues and instructors in online education at the university. Study findings suggest needed areas of improvement for universities, especially as they relate to students feeling more connected to their colleagues and instructors. The study findings can inform the design of practice that impacts retention and degree completion of first-generation doctoral male students who have transitioned from ground-based education to online education.

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