Excerpts from a conversation between Michael Rodgers (Southeast Missouri State) and Carl Lashley (UNC Greensboro), on Lashley’s experiences teaching in an online doctoral degree program.
UNCG’s doctoral program is attractive because it is sensitive to the needs of working professionals. The strong online component saves commuting time. From the relative comfort of home, students are fresher and more relaxed when it is time to log into the online course after a very busy day of work. Even so, most of Lashley’s students live relatively nearby (less than a 2 hour commute), which affords them the opportunity to come to campus from time to time for face-to-face courses, meet with faculty, and attend advising sessions and seminars. Lashley’s awareness of his students’ need for a sense of belonging motivates him to use the on-campus events to establish relationships that Lashley characterizes as “accidental cohorts,” which create connections and lend authenticity to the virtual relationships born of online interactions within discussion boards and group activities.