This phenomenological research study examined the experience of interaction in online courses as described by six doctoral education students at accredited universities. A review of the literature revealed that online interaction is considered crucial for effective online learning; however, when it is discussed, there is disagreement regarding the nature and definition of interaction in online education. Because phenomenology allows a researcher to uncover the underlying structures or essences of a phenomenon, it proved to be an appropriate research design to study this topic. The purpose of the study was to understand online interaction from the learners' perspective. For data collection, the researcher conducted in-depth interviews of doctoral students and created field notes and journal entries to triangulate data. Phenomenological techniques of epoche, phenomenological reduction, and imaginative variation were used to analyze the data. As significant statements were extracted from transcriptions of the interviews, four themes emerged regarding the essences of online interaction—perception of instructor, perception of classmates, assumptions about the role of instructors, and assumptions about the role of learners. The findings showed that the essences of online interaction are a complex relationship among these four main themes. When interaction is viewed positively, students experience the existential presence of experts and peers in the online course. The results of this study may establish a foundation for future research and provide valuable information for educators interested in creating interaction viewed meaningfully to students, and may benefit theorists concerned about the application of learning theories in online education.
|Commitee:||Anderson-Sathe, Laurie, Englesberg, Paul|
|Department:||School of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-A 69/08, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational technology, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Doctoral students, Interaction, Online, Online interaction, Phenomenological study|
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