Transitioning the team: supporting distance supervised Doctor of Business Administration students through collaborative online workshops


  • Sarah Carr University of Otago



doctoral supervision, group supervision, distance learning, academic transitions


Educational transitions are widely recognised as being key points which can influence a student’s later success. Transitions are not just limited to the beginning of a period of study, but can occur during this period. The adjustments which come with transitioning can be unsettling and isolating. These feelings can be compounded by the nature of the studies and distance from the place of study. This paper reflects on the importance of recognising that the transition from a student within a cohort to an independent thesis student can be relatively isolating for many students, especially for those who are studying at a distance. In an attempt to provide extra support and minimise the impact of isolation, team supervision was trialled for two groups of distance supervised Doctor of Business Administration students based in China. The model incorporated peer groups and research communities for students with similar research topics. Overall, the pilot was successful in supporting the students’ transition, but identified the need for flexibility to manage students who progress at different rates.

Author Biography

Sarah Carr, University of Otago

Sarah Carr is Director of the Doctor of Business Administration programme at the University of Otago. In her role she teaches research methods to business professionals undertaking doctoral studies and supervises a number of these students. Her research focuses on quality education initiatives, including student experiences, engagement, and support, as well as doctoral teaching and supervision.