School of Communication and the Arts


Doctor of Philosophy in Communication (PhD)


Carol E. Hepburn


videoconferencing, Zoom fatigue, online education, distance education, video conferencing, higher education


Communication | Education


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore how faculty and students in higher education experience videoconferencing in online courses and why they feel fatigue. Zoom fatigue, the exhaustion users feel when communicating through videoconferencing platforms, is a recently identified phenomenon associated with the extensive use of synchronous videoconferencing communication. The research employed a qualitative case study approach to investigate how faculty and students experience videoconferencing and Zoom fatigue in online courses at a small liberal arts university in Appalachia. Document review, qualitative surveys, and in-depth interviews informed the case study. Faculty and student respondents reported dissatisfaction with teaching and learning through videoconferencing, although their experiences were vastly different. Communication deficiencies inherent in the medium were identified as causing significant interferences for teaching and learning. Based upon findings, a model of Zoom fatigue is proposed that attributes the phenomenon to situational, individual trait, environmental, and communication factors. As online education continues to grow, it is valuable for higher education administrators and instructors to understand how to most effectively interact with students in online environments and what role videoconferencing and Zoom fatigue may play in disrupting that process.