Usu News & Events

Provost Burrus and Adjunct Faculty Shaw Publish on the Effectiveness of a Virtual Option for a Limited-Residency Online Doctoral Program

Kevin Doocey
November 3, 2021

With the growth of online doctoral programs, administrators are interested in determining the best programmatic structures to support student success. The structures of online doctoral programs vary widely. Some institutions require in-person or virtual residency experiences, while others can be completed entirely online without a synchronous residency requirement. The purpose of this quantitative, ex post facto study was to determine how attending a virtual in-residence affected the progression and completion of students’ doctoral research. The study included an exploration of differences in progression between students who attended virtual, or in-person residencies, or a combination of the two to determine which programming resulted in the highest rates of student completion. This study found that on average students participating in a mix of in-person and virtual residency experiences finished their doctoral degree more quickly than student who attended exclusively in-person or exclusively virtual residency experiences. Future research should be conducted to see if these findings are generalizable to other institutions and also to determine if progression rates differ for students in programs that do not require synchronous, residential learning.