Peer Social Support Among Online Undergraduate Students:  A Circle of Comfort Lisa L. Voigt Fielding Graduate University
Research Question <ul><li>How is peer social support, among online undergraduate students, described, manifested, and valu...
Literature Review <ul><li>Perceived social support </li></ul><ul><li>Four types of social support: emotional, instrumental...
Methodology <ul><li>Qualitative research - survey followed by phone interviews </li></ul><ul><li>Large, for-profit, online...
Findings <ul><li>Describe peer social support positively </li></ul><ul><li>Three distinct groups emerged </li></ul><ul><ul...
Findings: Social Support Manifestation IS Group <ul><li>Did not seek out support </li></ul><ul><li>First experienced in fi...
Findings: Social Support Manifestation AS Group <ul><li>Met during a class assignment early in their program </li></ul><ul...
Findings: Social Support Manifestation ES Group <ul><li>Met through a variety of different ways </li></ul><ul><li>Looked f...
Findings: Social Support Description IS Group <ul><li>Hesitant to embrace the term social support </li></ul><ul><li>Suppor...
Findings: Social Support Description AS Group <ul><li>Social support experienced more frequently, more situations, more wa...
Findings: Social Support Description ES Group <ul><li>Personal relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Intense emotional bonds </l...
Findings: Social Support Valuation IS Group <ul><li>Tepid responses </li></ul><ul><li>None in contact or no plans to stay ...
Findings: Social Support Valuation AS Group <ul><li>Generally appreciated the socially supportive student relationship </l...
Findings: Social Support Valuation ES Group <ul><li>Enthusiastically valued </li></ul><ul><li>All still in touch or plan t...
Conclusions and Interpretation: So What? <ul><li>Students were able to describe supportive experiences without realizing t...
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Voigt

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Online communication in education setting

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Voigt

  1. 1. Peer Social Support Among Online Undergraduate Students: A Circle of Comfort Lisa L. Voigt Fielding Graduate University
  2. 2. Research Question <ul><li>How is peer social support, among online undergraduate students, described, manifested, and valued? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Literature Review <ul><li>Perceived social support </li></ul><ul><li>Four types of social support: emotional, instrumental, informational, and appraisal </li></ul><ul><li>Social support available online </li></ul><ul><li>Online students appreciate other students </li></ul><ul><li>Online students desire communication with other students </li></ul><ul><li>Camaraderie, or social support, can form among online students </li></ul>
  4. 4. Methodology <ul><li>Qualitative research - survey followed by phone interviews </li></ul><ul><li>Large, for-profit, online university </li></ul><ul><li>Provided 711 names/email addresses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Last quarter of program, or 15 or fewer credits from graduation, or who had completed in last quarter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>63 participated in the survey </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>25 met criteria </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>14 agreed to be interviewed </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Findings <ul><li>Describe peer social support positively </li></ul><ul><li>Three distinct groups emerged </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Incidental supporters (IS) - four members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gave and received social support for the purpose of furthering education </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Amicable supporters (AS) - six members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Began their relationships because of an assignment, but continued communicating to the point of personal support </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emotional supporters (ES) - four members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Formed tight, emotional bonds that transcended the online learning experience </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Findings: Social Support Manifestation IS Group <ul><li>Did not seek out support </li></ul><ul><li>First experienced in final class during extensive team project </li></ul><ul><li>Similarities in work or complimentary skill set drew students together </li></ul>
  7. 7. Findings: Social Support Manifestation AS Group <ul><li>Met during a class assignment early in their program </li></ul><ul><li>Connected because of similarities in work experience, families, geography, personality, etc. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Findings: Social Support Manifestation ES Group <ul><li>Met through a variety of different ways </li></ul><ul><li>Looked for similarities </li></ul>
  9. 9. Findings: Social Support Description IS Group <ul><li>Hesitant to embrace the term social support </li></ul><ul><li>Support among all four members was instrumental in nature </li></ul><ul><li>One member described informational support </li></ul><ul><li>To some degree all four said other students contributed to feelings of “support, comfort, or belonging” </li></ul>
  10. 10. Findings: Social Support Description AS Group <ul><li>Social support experienced more frequently, more situations, more ways </li></ul><ul><li>All four types observed </li></ul><ul><li>Personal connections, stay in touch for longer, support transcends classroom </li></ul><ul><li>All members indicate supportive other(s) contributed to support, comfort or belonging </li></ul>
  11. 11. Findings: Social Support Description ES Group <ul><li>Personal relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Intense emotional bonds </li></ul><ul><li>Layers of support </li></ul><ul><li>From school to highly personal </li></ul><ul><li>All members indicate supportive other(s) contributed to support, comfort or belonging </li></ul>
  12. 12. Findings: Social Support Valuation IS Group <ul><li>Tepid responses </li></ul><ul><li>None in contact or no plans to stay in contact </li></ul><ul><li>Three of four would introduce more avenues for support </li></ul>
  13. 13. Findings: Social Support Valuation AS Group <ul><li>Generally appreciated the socially supportive student relationship </li></ul><ul><li>Four in touch or planning to stay in touch </li></ul><ul><li>Four students would introduce more avenues of support </li></ul>
  14. 14. Findings: Social Support Valuation ES Group <ul><li>Enthusiastically valued </li></ul><ul><li>All still in touch or plan to be in touch </li></ul><ul><li>Meet in person </li></ul><ul><li>Three students would introduce more avenues of support </li></ul>
  15. 15. Conclusions and Interpretation: So What? <ul><li>Students were able to describe supportive experiences without realizing they existed </li></ul><ul><li>Three different experiential groups </li></ul><ul><li>Social support manifestation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The three groups provide a structure for understanding peer social support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students did not look for social support or online companionship </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Social support description </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Assess up front how students might respond to socially supportive peers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build opportunities for socially supportive interactions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Social support valuation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Introduce more opportunities for social support </li></ul></ul>

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