Ed.D. Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


College of Education



Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.

Faculty Chair

Chad Becker, Ph.D.

Content Specialist

Edward H. Kim, Ph.D.

Content Reader

Leslie G. Loomis, Ed.D.


communities of practice, constructivist pedagogy, dual-enrollment, inquiry, programs of study, research science, rural schools, secondary schools


This multiple case study focused on a research science dually-enrolled program of study and the unique challenges rural school educators face due to a lack of human and social capital. Some geographically-isolated rural secondary schools strategically use dual-enrollment programs to develop stronger social capital networks and communities of practice. Participants included five science research educators from rural, geographically-isolated secondary schools. Each case was examined individually, which allowed the researcher to explore the phenomenon within the context of the rural school research science teaching and learning environment. A cross-case analysis was conducted across all five cases using the inductive framework. The following research question guided this study: How do geographically-isolated rural secondary school Science Research in the High School (SRHS) educators utilize social capital and human action to establish, support, and facilitate communities of practice within their teaching and learning environment for student knowledge acquisition? This research study provided insight into the mutually beneficial roles communities and schools have in developing the social and human capital available to them in their community. By establishing partnerships through purposeful planning, community members, practitioners, and leaders can successfully work to address the student equity issues, often plaguing geographical-isolated rural schools. The results of this study reveal and communicate identified best educational practices used by SRHS educators in establishing communities of practice within their geographically isolated secondary schools. The identified need to prepare our students for a more global, technology, knowledge-driven society upon their graduation from secondary schools makes this study valuable and timely.

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