I started learning online many years ago, and ever sense, I have been interested in learning more about it. When asked what I had been up to, I would tell friends and distant family that I was attending school and working towards whatever degree it was at the time. At first, they would say how great that was, and then ask where at. When I explained I was attending online, it was shocking how many people shrugged it off as if that was not as important, difficult, or time consuming as taking courses on campus would be. I believe research in online learning is vital and will only continue to grow as more online programs open up throughout the United States.
I started my research endeavors by the broad keyword online learning. I read many articles using that search and narrowed down my keywords the more I learned. My specific idea for my study at this point is to examine how sense of community in the online classroom can be enhanced in doctoral Industrial-Organizational (I-O) psychology programs. Many studies on this topic are either mixed methods, using both quantitative and qualitative, or pure qualitative. The two most common designs in this area have been phenomenological design and case studies. I would like to do a phenomenological qualitative study in order to study the lived experiences of I-O psychology students to determine their perceptions on how to enhance sense of community between them and peers and them and their instructors. A favorite study of mine was conducted by Jeremy Byrd in 2016 titled Understanding the Online Doctoral Learning Experience: Factors that Contribute to Students’ Sense of Community. Byrd (2016) examined the lived experiences of doctoral students to determine their perceptions regarding how sense of community is perceived in the online classroom. Byrd (2016) only used twelve students from one program and suggests future research examine more programs with more students. I have also found a few well-written, useful articles from the journal titled Online Learning.
Please respond to the above question using 250 words. Please also use at least 1 reference that is from a peer reviewed article or journal not a website reference. Please also cite the reference in APA 6th edition format.