Dissertation Communication: The Committee

In this day and age of online education, I am curious lately about how members of the dissertation committee communicate with one another. I am working on the dissertation portion of my degree online, and my Chair has changed more than once, as have the Member(s) of the reading committee.

My Chair is very friendly and has shared with me that he lives in two different areas of the country during different times of the year. I stalked one of the readers online, and she lives in neither place, so I don’t presume they fly to a mutually agreed upon destination to discuss my paper in person.

This leaves email, the telephone, or some type of Google hangout situation. I am eliminating texting about a dissertation. No matter what the type of communication, I am also curious as to whether it is a formative or summative assessment of the work from each party. My impression is that the assessment from one reader to the next is summative, meaning that the work is “complete” for the next reader.

The collaboration takes place after the submission, or assessment.

I don’t know if a formative assessment would be better for these purposes; there is always a case to be made for all types of assessment-centered learning. I’ll let you consult your ProQuest on that. However, I once got a job offer because a principal asked me how often I assess students, and I replied, “Every day.”

These are my own reflections. I will tell you that the Google window box revealed limited information on this topic. The process is collaborative and cooperative between student and faculty across several websites. One school’s job description indicated the Chair was the conduit between the learner and the Committee. It also revealed that some schools allow students to select members of their Committee. This would be harder in an online environment without knowing the professors as well.

Multiple areas of expertise help the student and the school. I still would like to know how Committees around the country communicate.

Anyone willing to share?

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