Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Interdisciplinary Education

Major Professor

Karolyn J. Snyder, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Richard O. Sullivan, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Bruce Hall, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Barbara Emil, Ph.D.

Committee Member

William Locander, Ph.D.


online learning, portraiture, online research, social learning


The virtual world exists as a dimension between concrete physical reality and abstract fictional fantasy. This cyber essence has become a place of commerce, social development, and educational pursuit. To build an understanding of the Kingdom of the Internet, the resulting case study sought to explore the community learning experiences of groups involved in an international online distance education program to create a tale of the process of a system. An assumption in this research was that the program under study was framed within a social learning context. Therefore, the recommendations and findings must be considered within this context and applied within similarly framed learning programs.

The method of this study followed an input-process-output model with an added element of outcomes. Participants completed a preliminary technology survey, locus of control instrument, self-regulated learner instrument and a learning styles inventory along with provided background information to form group input profiles. The process of the system was observed through the use of focus groups with the participants, process leaders and instructors as well as transcripts from discussion and chats. The group interaction, the site usage information and technical feedback all served as output information. The outcomes were measured through the use of a group effectiveness measure and instructor rating of final products.