Why the DC Network™ Is Important for Doctoral Students

a doctoral student studying on laptop

In 2010, Grand Canyon University decided to invest in helping doctoral students learn to design, conduct and report the results of their independent research. GCU began offering more resources to students on their doctoral journey, including the Doctoral Community (DC) Network™.

The DC Network™ is a learner-driven, scholarly, online community designed to help doctoral students complete their dissertation and program of study successfully. The network’s comprehensive catalog of supportive services helps new researchers learn the terminology, tools and norms to become independent scholars capable of producing high-quality research.

Since launching in 2010, more than 23,000 members have joined the DC Network™. Once a member of this network, students can use all available resources in the unique online community to make the most of their doctoral journey, accessing everything remotely through desktops, laptops and tablets.

DC Network™ Resources

The DC Network™ provides extensive resources to doctoral students to help them become independent researchers. Resources include:

  • Access to scholarly writing
  • Alumni accomplishments
  • Dissertation templates
  • Faculty research office hours
  • Future events
  • Live and recorded alumni dissertation research webinars
  • Message boards
  • Research software
  • Student and faculty conference presentations

Dr. Ronald Berman, Associate Dean of the College of Doctoral Studies at GCU, adds that “the College of Doctoral Studies is committed to deploy state-of-the-art technology wherever possible to enhance student learning and to assist in their progression to complete a purposeful doctoral journey."

The network simplifies sharing content, allowing learners to focus on their work. Through its abundant resources, the DC Network™ provides doctoral students and alumni with everything to help them on their doctoral journey.


One of the features of the DC Network™ is its collaborative environment. Through this network, doctoral students can use available resources to post research questions and ideas to which other students, faculty, alumni and the doctoral librarian can offer feedback, suggestions and references.

New researchers can also receive feedback on their proposed research focus from a nationwide research community and connect with others in the same program to optimize their time in the doctoral program. Connecting with other students in similar programs not only helps spark ideas within the community; students make new acquaintances with the people to whom they can relate most.

Networking with Other Doctoral Students and Professionals

The DC Network™ allows students to connect with GCU faculty, other students in various doctoral programs and professionals in the field. Using this feature, students gain inspiration from other scholars, share their work, and network with peers in this diverse learning community.

Getting connected with expert faculty and professionals in your field proves extremely beneficial. Students can ask questions and get to know these professionals within the virtual network to learn more about what their career can look like in the future and make connections to help advance their careers.

Networking resources are available to alumni, students and faculty: If your career has already begun, you can use the DC Network™ to share what you have learned with students in the program or even use this opportunity to learn more yourself.

Doctoral Workspace

Doctoral students who enter the dissertation phase receive added support with access to their private doctoral workspace. This access enables doctoral students to share manuscripts, track milestones and communicate with committee members, building on the collaborative environment of the DC Network™.

In providing a source for dissertation-related documents, all communication within the private doctoral workspace is stored until students complete their dissertations. This record provides a detailed history for all student research activities, promoting program progression and helping students reach research design decisions. The DC Network™ has several dissertation videos available for its members to view as they prepare for their dissertation defense.

Doctoral Dissertation Discussions

Dissertation discussions for doctoral students are often complex, as they receive coaching from their chair on how to begin independent research and develop the level of scholarly writing needed to publish their dissertation.

To enhance student coaching, GCU added Zoom video conferencing in 2016 to private doctoral workspaces. Zoom has become a pillar in the workplace and education, demonstrating that students and professionals maintain productivity while operating virtually.

This interactive, collaborative tool enhances committee communication, coaching and mentoring by facilitating review and annotation to research documents and plans.

As a cloud-based application, Zoom allows both the dissertation chair and the students to record the session. Reviewing these previously-recorded discussions while viewing draft documents provides an enriching learning opportunity customized for every student.

Grand Canyon University’s College of Doctoral Studies is committed to your academic and professional success through the application of technology and other resources. Visit the Request Info button above to find out more information about GCU’s doctoral programs and the resources available to doctoral students and alumni.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.