School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Daniel Baer


Higher Education, Instructor Interaction, Online Learning, Spiritual Development


Christianity | Curriculum and Instruction | Educational Methods | Educational Psychology | Higher Education


The purpose of this qualitative case study is to understand the impact of instructor interaction on the facilitation of spiritual development in an online environment for undergraduate non-religion majors attending a distinctively evangelical university. The qualitative case study shadows and evaluates three sections of a required introductory religion course. Over the period of one academic term, the following online interactions were observed in order to gauge potential facilitation of spiritual development: announcements, emails, forums, assignment feedback, and course content. An interview was conducted with the instructor following the course to understand how they engaged the course and their perspective in doing so. This interview process included seeking the individual student's perception of how the instructor's interaction affected them personally. The results from the study indicated that instructors do have the opportunity to influence a student's experience as it relates to spiritual growth through their personal encouragement, empathy with the student and regular engagement within the course.