Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Student engagement is critical to student success, graduation rates, and retention in both face-to-face and online learning environments. In an online environment, the teacher is responsible for implementing engaging instructional activities. The problem examined in this qualitative case study was the inconsistent teacher implementation of engaging instructional strategies in online courses at a school serving U.S. military-connected students. The purpose of the study was to investigate the motivation of teachers to support student engagement opportunities. Self-determination theory (SDT), which has autonomy, competence, and relatedness as main constructs, was used as the conceptual framework and the basis for the research questions. The research questions focused on influence of teacher's motivation on implementation of engaging instructional activities. Seven online high school teachers were selected as participants. Data sources consisted of interviews with participants and assessments of the courses. Data was analyzed using open and axial coding based on SDT. Findings showed that motivation to implement the activities was positively influenced by autonomy, competence of content knowledge, and relationships. Motivation was negatively influenced by a lack of competence in technical skills in the online environment. As a result of the findings, a professional development workshop was developed to increase teacher's understanding of student engagement and provide the instructors with an opportunity to collaborate with colleagues to create a resource toolbox for future use. The findings promote positive social change by adding to the body of knowledge on online learning in secondary schools and providing online high school teachers with insight about online course development and student engagement strategies they can use to positively affect student learning.