Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Abbie Brown


Research indicates that secondary students who are successful in online classes share common traits. However, many secondary career technical education (CTE) students taking online courses do not demonstrate the traits identified for success. CTE students may not benefit from online classes unless they are designed with their needs in mind. The purpose of this study was to investigate current CTE student experiences with online classes at a single career center. The research questions investigated CTE experiences with online classes, positive and negative online design features, and the hybrid classroom. The theoretical framework was constructivism. The purposive sample included 12 student participants (3 participants from each of 4 CTE career clusters) and 1 paraprofessional in charge of the classroom. Data included individual and small group interviews and observations. Participants reported that the current online course design, primarily text followed by a traditional assessment, was problematic. Instructional design features that assisted CTE students included individual pacing, instant feedback on assessments, and class organization. Features that did not assist students included content issues, technology issues, and limited testing options. Hybrid environment features that assisted CTE students included having a set time and place, access to technology, and the support of a paraprofessional. Career technical education in general may benefit from this research. Effective online education may provide greater opportunities for a larger audience of learners; their improved preparation helps students contribute more to the work force and gain more in terms of career success.