Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Advisor

Carol Ann Sharicz


This case study explores the evolution of a grassroots, student-led Facebook graduate student community to support graduate students within the University of Massachusetts Boston Instructional Design Program. The study explores literature supporting social presence construction within formal course environments, informal learning networks, and how social media can help bridge the gap between the formal and informal course space. A questionnaire administered to graduate students and alumni within the Instructional Design Facebook community suggests that a grassroots model has been highly effective at helping students feel more connected to each other. Conclusions and recommendations provided by this study will help inform and reform online graduate programs, universities, and learning management system (LMS) providers to meet the social-emotional needs of online graduate learners to feel and stay connected.