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"Online Teaching Experience: A Qualitative Metasynthesis (QMS)" icon

Online Teaching Experience: A Qualitative Metasynthesis (QMS)

Qualitative studies of educators who teach online are crucial to provide direction for practice and research as they offer an emic perspective. Using a qualitative metasynthesis (QMS) design, this study investigated the experience of online educators at institutions of higher education in the U. S. Discerning what activities online educators could instigate to bridge the gaps between the best practices and the present instructional realities in online teaching, this study provides an interpretive synthesis of the meaning of teaching online as represented by a body of qualitative literature on online education. The chosen theoretical framework for the study includes the model of critical thinking and community inquiry. The researcher identified nine original qualitative studies involving 203 participants in geographically diverse schools. Close reading of the nine studies identified four key themes that captured the nature and experience of online instructors: (a) work intensity, (b) role changes, (c) teaching strategies, and (d) professional development. Many of these themes were linked to each other and, therefore, contributed to a broader picture of the instructors' experience. The results of the study substantiate previous research and can benefit all stakeholders including learners, faculty members, and leaders in colleges and universities that offer online education.

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