Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Kerry J. Burner

Abstract

Developing online instructional strategies for increasing student engagement and success is significant locally and nationally due to growth in the online field, advances in technology, and the need for colleges to maximize student success. This study stemmed from the desire of administrators at an upstate New York private college to discover additional ways to design and deliver effective online instruction. The purpose of this qualitative instrumental case study was to discover faculty perceptions of and experiences with instructional strategies that they used to foster student engagement in online learning. Kearsley and Shneiderman's engagement theory formed the study's conceptual framework. Ten faculty members, who had taught online for at least 3 years at the study site, completed an open-ended, anonymous online survey, provided documents for analysis, and participated in a semi-structured, one-on-one interview. Data analysis revealed five themes that add insight to the attributes of student engagement theory by discovering instructional strategies that foster interaction for online students: instructor presence, effective communication, course consistency, engaging content, and a humanizing learning environment. Using these findings, a position paper was written, which includes the recommendation that a new professional development initiative, a communities-of-practice e-learning site, be created to share study findings. Dissemination of study findings at conferences may increase online practitioners' knowledge of instructional strategies that engage online learners and improve student satisfaction and success, potentially resulting in positive social change.