Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Bill Flora

Committee Members

Donald Good, Virginia Foley


The purpose of this phenomenological study is to understand student perceptions of social media as they relate to the programs of study for online graduate students participating in an educational leadership department (hereafter referred to as EDLR) in Tennessee. As institutions of higher education are being affected by declining enrollments, increasing tuition, rising numbers of nontraditional students, global events, and continuing budget cuts, understanding student perception of the educational experience is a fundamental element for understanding ways to address the uncertain future of higher education. Through a series of in-depth interviews, data were collected and analyzed to provide a framework of understanding for that question. This study explores social media usage by online graduate students enrolled in the EDLR program at a Tennessee university. Some of the key findings that the data illustrate are that the perception of paucity by EDLR in its social media affects student perceptions of inclusion and community. Participants may not be actively engaging in social media; they are often aware of it and many explain that they use social media outlets to keep abreast of class activities and each other. Participants also felt that online learning resources are more like prescribed assignments and lack the needed freedoms for open communication and social media did not invade their personal space.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.