Designing an Online Dissertation Research Community of Practice

Martha M. Snyder, Laurie P. Dringus, Steven R. Terrell


This design case describes phase one (pilot phase) of an intervention strategy aimed to support students in a limited–residency doctoral program. Specifically, this case documents the process and decisions that were made along the way to design an online research community of practice (CoP) for students who have completed coursework and are working on their dissertations in the field of instructional design and technology. The case includes the designers’ guiding framework, a detailed description of the case including the site, participant and platform selection, and the preliminary state of the design. To date, a design team is in place, a guiding framework for the design of the CoP is established, a needs analysis has been conducted, the participants have been identified, the CoP strategy has been defined, the site has launched, and students are just now beginning to become a part of this online community. It will take time to cultivate the community and determine whether the design is effective in achieving the community’s goals. Data collection and documentation of design decisions continue as the design and development of the online CoP emerges.

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