This paper describes a protocol for an effective response to nontraditional online doctoral candidates based on the development of advanced cognitive processes, academic writing skills, and functional knowledge. The Design, Development, Implementation, and Support (DDIS) protocol is a three-phase protocol that integrates the requisite skills, concepts, and expertise with mentor and candidate response, interactions, technologies, projects, and assessment procedures. The protocol is based on constructivist, sociocultural, and problem-based learning models. The protocol defines productive asynchronous and synchronous interactions that develop the cognitive processes, skills, and knowledge needed to complete the dissertation process. The protocol includes support templates and technologies to facilitate the work of online doctoral candidates. The protocol provides guidelines for supporting and empowering online nontraditional doctoral students to promote the graduation of these students and reduce attrition rates.
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