School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy


Patricia Ferrin


online education, COVID-19, online collaborative learning theory


Higher Education


The purpose of this multiple-case study was to understand and discover the learning gaps created by emergency online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact it has had on instructors and students in institutes of higher education. A look at how online collaborative learning theory and the effect it has had on online learning was also examined. The theory that guided this study was the online collaborative learning (OCL) theory, which stresses the process involving memory, thinking, reflection, abstraction, and motivation. The central research question that this study investigated was how COVID-19 impacted institutes of higher education and their online programs. The study, composed of students and instructors from a local college took place online. The data was collected via individual interviews with students and instructors, observations, and a focus group consisting of students and instructors. The data was collected and examined as a whole. A holistic analysis was used to examine the entire case. The data was looked at collectively using a within-case analysis.