Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Secondary Education and Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Karen Embry Jenlink, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Patrick M. Jenlink, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Le'Ann Solmonson, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Tingting Xu, Ph.D.


This study examined the effect of synchronous and asynchronous communication methods on a sense of community development in online learning environments. The researcher surveyed 734 online students at a small private school in East Texas, examining the variables of synchronous and asynchronous communication methods to evaluate the sense of community experienced in online learning environments.

The study used a convergent mixed method using the Classroom Community Scale along with supplemental open-ended questions. A factorial analysis was conducted, resulting in two factors: supportive relationships and a sense of reliance. The responses expressed the use of discussion boards, emails, and self-recorded videos as the asynchronous methods of communication that added to a sense of community. Five themes emerged (personal reasons, online course structure, a sense of community, faith-based education, and financial) explaining factors that enhance retention and persistence in online learning within the university.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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