Online professional skills workshops: Perspectives from distance education graduate students

Sarah Gauvreau, Deborah Hurst, Martha Cleveland-Innes, Pamela Hawranik

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


While many online graduate students are gaining academic and scholarly knowledge, the opportunities for students to develop and hone professional skills essential for the workplace are lacking. Given the virtual environment of distance learning, graduate students are often expected to glean professional skills such as analytical thinking, self-awareness, flexibility, team-building, and problem-solving inherently through informal means (Cleveland-Innes & Ally, 2012). The goal of this study was to evaluate the experiences of online graduate students participating in synchronous online professional skills workshops. Students attended the sessions from the various graduate programs at an online Canadian university. The discussions from the focus group held at the end of the project were used to achieve the research goals. This paper used a phenomenological lens to accomplish its research goals. The participants reported that they experienced a "sense of community" and learned skills that were not included in their academic programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-108
Number of pages3
JournalInternational Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Distance education
  • Online graduate student
  • Professional skills development
  • Synchronous online workshops


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