Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Sarah J. Noonan, Ed.D.; C. Candace Chou, Ph.D.; Eleni Roulis, Ph.D.


This phenomenological case study examined the process of change at a rural two-year college migrating from traditional face-to-face instruction to an online learning environment and its effect on faculty and students. Instructors and support staff were concerned about the move to online learning due to the diversity of the student body, including a large proportion of academically disadvantaged students. The institution, however, was pressured to make the change to online learning due to low enrollment and loss of state funding. Instructors were required to change to an online learning environment rapidly with little or no training or support provided by the institution.

Interviews conducted with instructors, students, and tutors revealed the change process was necessary for institutional survival, despite their personal discomfort associated with the transition to online learning. As faculty progressed through the change and began receiving more institutional support and training, they developed pedagogical strategies to increase student learning outcomes in the online classroom. Additionally, due to the large proportion of academically disadvantaged students at the institution, faculty adopted support strategies to engage students and create a sense of community.

Faculty and students appeared to transition successfully to online learning and teaching over the course of this study. Students, including those considered academically disadvantaged, were successful in online learning. Faculty attitudes regarding online learning changed and they grew to appreciate the opportunities it provided for students and the institution as a whole. Theoretical frameworks informing this study included theories related to institutional and individual change, effective online pedagogical practices, and community building. 3


Academically Disadvantaged, Personal Change, Organizational Change, Two-year Colleges, Pedagogy, Online Learning, Online Teaching, Technology

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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