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Am I Supported? An Exploration of Social Support Received by Female Nontraditional Online Graduate Students

Sun, April 11, 9:30 to 10:30am EDT (9:30 to 10:30am EDT), SIG Sessions, SIG-Research on Women and Education Roundtable Sessions


Social support is how one is cared for, has assistance available from other people, and is part of a supportive social network. This generic qualitative study explored unique experiences and challenges of female adult graduate students in receiving social support in online learning environments. The natural emergency of social support was evident among the female, nontraditional, online graduate students. Participants felt well-supported in receiving tangible learning resources and assistance (instrumental support), and in receiving feedback on their work (appraisal support), while emotional support was scarce. This study sheds lights to online course developers, instructors, and graduate program coordinators on the specific aspects of social support that would help female nontraditional online graduate students maximize their online learning experiences.