Student Engagement in an Online Special Education-General Education Graduate Program

LaRon Scott, Ed.D.

Priyadarshini Pattath, M.S.


Virginia Commonwealth University


Engagement is a key factor for student learning, participation, and retention in a distance education course and programs. The Online Student Engagement Scale (OSE) was developed as a tool to measure student engagement in online courses. This study investigated student engagement in a graduate-level online special education-general education program to get students’ perceptions about their (a) level of engagement and (b) factors contributing to their engagement. Following the OSE survey, students participated in a focus group to gain greater understanding of students’ engagement in their online course and program. Results indicated that student engagement in the online program was highly rated and several themes emerged as reasons students believed that the newly minted online program was engaging.  Based on these findings, implications for strengthening practice regarding engagement in online courses and programs are discussed.

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