School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Daniel Baer


Transactional Distance Theory, Student-student, Student-teacher, Student-content, Interaction, Meaningful Interactions


Online and Distance Education


The purpose of this qualitative case study is to describe the experiences of teachers interacting with students in an online learning environment at Township School District. The theory guiding this study is Moore’s transactional distance theory as it examines how meaningful interactions can minimize the transactional distance in distance learning or remote learning environments. Data from teacher interviews, focus groups, and teacher generated writing samples were used to provide an understanding of how teachers support and promote interactions in online learning environments. Participants were teachers with at least one-year experience teaching remotely or online. All participants were from the same medium sized school district in central Illinois, with a student population of nearly 8,000. This study adds to the literature by sharing high school teachers’ perspectives and experiences of creating and supporting interactions in an online learning environment. The central research question asked, “What are the experiences of high school teachers creating and fostering meaningful interactions in online learning environments?” NVivo coding was utilized to identify codes generated directly from participant responses. The results of the study indicated that teachers created and supported a variety of meaningful interactions. Teachers experienced challenges, adopted new teaching strategies, embraced interactive digital content, and gained a new perspective on students’ home life.