School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Pat Ferrin


virtual setting, parents of students, teachers, students, connective experiences, community, network, connection


Education | Special Education and Teaching


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to understand how connective experiences are built between elementary teachers and parents in a virtual setting at the ABC school district in the southeastern region of the United States. The theory guiding this study was Siemens’ connectiveness theory, as it explored the students' knowledge impacted by the connective experiences of the network of elementary teachers and parents in accessing their learning and success in the virtual school setting. Three essential research questions focused on the connective experiences between elementary teachers and parents in the virtual setting in the southeastern part of the United States. Data collection for this study consisted of interviews utilizing researcher-designed questions conducted with a purposeful sampling of elementary teachers and parents who have received education through the virtual setting, focus groups, and journal questions from the same teachers. Data collection methods included interviews, focus groups, and journal prompts. Data analysis included the organization, analysis, and synthesis of data through phenomenological reduction, horizontalization, and identification of themes in clusters of significance. The results demonstrated how connective experiences supported connections between selected elementary teachers and parents, including themes relating to their experiences. Significant themes that emerged in the study included: teachers were connected with households due to the teachers teaching in the homes every day while building relationships with parents; accountability contributed to parents and teachers becoming a team to support students; and the virtual setting created an environment for students to become independent learners.