School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Amanda Rockinson-Szapkiw

Primary Subject Area

Education, General; Education, Higher; Education, Sociology of; Education, Administration; Education, Technology; Psychology, Social; Information Science


Community, Community of Practice, Computer-mediated communication, Connectedness, Distance Education, Loneliness


Communication Technology and New Media | Education | Educational Psychology | Instructional Media Design | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication | Social Psychology


Because distance education is such a rapidly developing educational venue, knowing what factors impact success must be known. Loneliness and sense of connectedness, or community, are issues facing graduate distance education students. These issues may influence retention. The theoretical framework of a Community of Practice assisted in understanding the development of community using computer-mediated communication (CMC) systems. The research questions answered included whether the type of synchronous CMC used (text- or video-based) could impact loneliness and community from a distance. An experimental design (randomized subjects, control group, posttest only) was used with distance education graduate students to address the research questions. Hypotheses were not supported. Qualitative analysis of open-ended questions found support for development of community.