CEC Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)

Department

College of Engineering and Computing

Advisor

Laurie P. Dringus

Committee Member

Steven R. Terrell

Committee Member

Marth M. Snyder

Abstract

Teaching presence and its implications for the intellectual climate of an online classroom cannot be fully understood unless explored from the perspective of the instructors who experience it. Framed in the theoretical perspective of the Community of Inquiry (CoI) model, this collective case study investigated the actions, intentions and perceptions of instructors with the intent of developing an in-depth understanding of the phenomenon of teaching presence as it was established in a structured online learning environment.

The experiences of selected successful instructors in this specific online context were explored to gain insight on how pedagogical choices influenced the establishment of an intellectual climate appropriate to the courses taught. Using semi-structured interviews as the main source of data, the study utilized the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) method as an analytical tool to address concerns of rigor in the qualitative interpretation of experiential data.

It was the goal of this study to gain an understanding of how teaching presence is established and the decision processes employed in doing so in order to make a contribution to the body of knowledge from a practical pedagogical perspective. Findings of the study provided insight into the following:

  • Practices in Establishing Teaching Presence.
  • Intentions of Instructors.
  • Influence on Intellectual Climate.
  • Nature of Teaching Presence.

Overall, the collective case revealed that an active interest and passion for teaching and an understanding of relevance to the student encouraged student engagement, and inspired intellectual curiosity and a shared responsibility for the learning process. The findings show that the common goal of learning shared by instructor and student had its foundations in the creation of authentic relationships between instructor and students that extend beyond stated learning objectives and expected outcomes.

The results of this study contribute to knowledge related to the nature of teaching presence and its role in setting an academic climate, addressing the overarching question of the study about how instructors establish teaching presence and inspire intellectual curiosity within the courses they teach. In addition, the experiences of the selected instructors helped provide a vocabulary with which to describe the shared pedagogies of instructors and served to catalog commonalities in actions and intent associated with setting an intellectual climate that met the requirements of academic rigor appropriate to the courses they taught.