Scaffolding Knowledge from Research to Writing: The Role of Reflection in Turning Doctoral Candidates into Graduates
Abstract: Within the context of online learning, faculty can empower their students to maximize the opportunity for knowledge sharing and reflective thinking skills. While doctoral students entering their chosen degree program have confidence in their ability to persevere through to completion, once their course work is completed, they find themselves plagued by self-doubt with regard to their ability to complete a rigorous empirical research dissertation. Students in online programs work in virtual relationships with the institutions and with their faculty mentors and committee members. Virtual relationships may increase feelings of insecurity based on the lack of face to face contact. Over half of these students leave the program before they graduate. The goal of this session is to share how faculty who are charged with mentoring students in online doctoral programs can support doctoral candidates who have reached the dissertation phase of their program through engaging them in reflective dialogue that supports their research self-efficacy. A review of prior and current literature will help to explore the value of integrating reflective practice to support students in the development of a doctoral dissertation. By organizing, assessing and synthesizing existing practices with the author’s own experiences, the current state of knowledge related to reflective practice in graduate study may be revealed, along with any specific issues that remain unanswered.