School of Education
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Task-Technology Fit, Technology-Mediated Communication, Virtual School
Ashe, Sherry, "A Phenomenological Study of Teacher-to-Student Technology-Mediated Communication in Secondary Virtual School Environments" (2018). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 1690.
The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to describe teacher experiences of teacher-to-student technology-mediated communication (TMC) in secondary virtual school (VS) environments in Alabama. The central research question for this study was: How do virtual school teachers in Alabama describe their experiences of teacher-to-student technology-mediated communication in secondary virtual school environments? Five sub-questions were also used: (1) How does technology-mediated communication meet the needs of individual teachers? (2) How does technology-mediated communication lead to better work performance? (3) How do teachers describe characteristics of the tasks that must be performed? (4) How do teachers describe characteristics of the technology that are used? (5) How do user characteristics impact the use of technology-mediated communication? The theory guiding this qualitative study was Goodhue and Thompson’s (1995) task-technology-fit (TTF) theory. Students educated in virtual environments use TMC, so teachers must know what kinds of TMC work best. The problem is that the teacher voice has been ignored in identifying teacher-to-student TMC that is effective in secondary VS environments. Using purposeful sampling of 12 VS teachers in Alabama, this research utilized semi-structured interviews, artifacts, and an asynchronous online focus group to uncover teacher experiences of teacher-to-student interactions in VS environments. Data analysis included bracketing, coding, establishing patterns, textural and structural descriptions, and development of the essence of participants’ experiences. In seeking meaning from their experiences, the predominant theme of whatever is best for the students became evident. Four themes developed pertaining to the participants’ experiences: Teacher mindset, teacher presence, integration of technology into instruction, and technology issues.