SACAD: John Heinrichs Scholarly and Creative Activity Days

Award Level

1st Place - Empirical Faculty/Staff


Empirical Faculty/Staff


Social belonging is a critical aspect of student success and well-being in higher education. Research on social belonging has thus far primarily focused on traditional, on campus students in higher education; however, higher education institutions have seen an increased number of online students post pandemic (D’Agostino, 2022). Fort Hays State University (FHSU) has likewise seen a growing number of online students, with 3,807 on campus students compared to 6,604 online students for the 2021-2022 school year. Data from the 2021 NISS Diagnostic Analysis resulted in the following executive summary, “Improve outcomes for online students by better understanding the specific obstacles they are facing and by targeting supports in response”. To address the growing need to understand the unique perspectives of FHSU’s online students and to contribute to the overall FHSU student success the Teaching Innovations and Learning Technologies (TILT) department designed a mixed methods research project with the intention to build a faculty facing workshop that is data driven by FHSU students. A design-based research approach was taken to support the project’s lofty goals. An initial analysis of past data was conducted using 2021 NSSE survey data, 2021 NISS Diagnostic Analysis and Playbook, and the FHSU’s 2021 Post-Pandemic survey data. This data was used to construct the theoretical framework of social belonging for this project, which includes social capital and social presence. Next, a sequential mixed methods approach was deployed using a qualitative survey followed by qualitative, semi-structured interviews. This poster will report on the project’s design, theoretical framework, and preliminary findings.

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Andrew Feldstein



Submission Type

in-person poster




Copyright the Author(s)


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