Lihua Dishman, a DBA student in Cohort 8, presented the conceptual part of her qualitative inquiry on exemplary online adult learners at 2012 Great Lakes Conference on Teaching & Learning in May at Mt. Pleasant, MI. This study utilizes the existential phenomenological inquiry method, which focuses on reporting lived experiences that are grounded in existence. Data collection relies on the perceptions of the participants–the 30 university instructors. The findings of this study thus may reflect the personal biases of these participants. The concept of an Exemplary Online Adult Learner needs to be further explored and refined. The effect of key characteristic factors of an Exemplary Online Adult Learner on achieving learning outcomes of individual courses and the entire degree program warrants further research through larger samples.
The Global Leadership course, one of her first classes in the DBA program, inspired her research interest. Both the Introduction to Doctoral Research and Qualitative Research courses empowered her with the necessary tools to complete the conceptual part of this exploratory inquiry. Lihua’s presentation is a powerful testimonial for LTU and COM’s education philosophy of linking theory to practice.