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The Case of DoctoralNet: An Innovative Online Platform for Doctoral Students

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Paper at 27th ICDE World Conference on Online Learning, Toronto, Canada, 18th October 2017.

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The Case of DoctoralNet: An Innovative Online Platform for Doctoral Students

  1. 1. The Case of DoctoralNet: An Innovative Online Platform for Doctoral Students Dr. Alana E. James and Professor Mark Brown Toronto, Canada 19th October 2017
  2. 2. 1. What is DoctoralNet? 2. How is DCU using DoctoralNet? 3. What do we still need to find out? Outline….
  3. 3. 1. What is DoctoralNet?
  4. 4. What is DoctoralNet? Web based portals personalized for a university 1 Delivering solid pedagogy styled to meet the needs of busy, adult learners 2 Plugging the leaks created by growing and changing programs, and building programmatic profits 3
  5. 5. Major and Minor Milestones through the Process
  6. 6. Interactive Self Assessments
  7. 7. Socialization What Support Is Wanted? Requires a new pedagogical framework
  8. 8. Challenge: Is it useful? • 5 F Survey… N=313 1. 58% regularly consider dropping out 2. Work-Life Balance (47%) 3. Lack of Support (39%) Overcoming the 5 F’s will be discussed in another session
  9. 9. LIKELY UNLIKELY POSTGRADUATE ADOPTION MATRIX Accessible/Useful Flexible/FitsinTheirTimetable IsEfficient PROBABLE PROBABLE Discussed theoretically in Overcoming the 5F’s
  10. 10. 2. How is DCU using DoctoralNet?
  11. 11. 275 – Total Population Enrolled 75% – Total Engagement 49% – Who use the webinars 28% – In Groups 33% – Opt in for resources such as 30-day writing challenge, motivational emails, etc. 23% – Site usage or communication with staff for resources 7% – Of students who are power users Engagement 75% 49% Webinars N= 275 23% Resources: Site/Staff Opt-ins 33% 28% in Groups Power users 7%
  12. 12. Pattern of uptake by students… 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 n= Adoption= Usefulness
  13. 13. What Do Students Say? “Watching DoctoralNet webinars keeps me motivated” 1 “Online resources work because is easy and fast to get the information needed” 2 “With your support I realized I could do this! Even those in the webinars were all studying very different things our troubles were similar” 3 “I found DoctoralNet & was able to get over the difficulties & problems I experienced. If it hadn't been for the staff of DoctoralNet I doubt I would have completed my doctoral studies” 4
  14. 14. 3. What do we still need to find out?
  15. 15. • How does the profile of DoctoralNet using students differ from non using students? • What impact does DoctoralNet have on overall completions rates? • What is the direct and indirect institutional return on investment of implementing DoctoralNet? Key questions….
  16. 16. • A formal survey of DoctoralNet using students at DCU • Interviews with key DCU staff involved in doctoral supervision • Potential expansion of DoctoralNet to all DCU doctoral students Next Steps….
  17. 17. Comments and Tools to Help Others Useful Tool #2: Worksheet for Cost of Disengagement Useful tool#1: 5F’s Survey for Universities Plugging the leaks- We’ve learned that we can’t predict which students are really struggling Developing the Personal agency of our students – It takes a village and the village is now also digital
  18. 18. “A prudent question is one-half of wisdom” Francis Bacon

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