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"The Lived Experience of Online Educators: Hermeneutic Phenomenology" icon

The Lived Experience of Online Educators: Hermeneutic Phenomenology

Assuring that quality is provided in rapidly expanding online programs is important to ensure student retention, maintain accreditation, and create a positive reputation. Although several studies have been conducted on the topic of online teaching, little research has been published on the lived experience of online educators that has utilized a hermeneutic, interpretive approach in gathering data. Therefore, a research expectation of this study was to ascertain an understanding of online educators' experiences that could serve as a basis for developing strategies that would promote better practices in higher education.  Using a hermeneutic phenomenological design, a purposeful peer-nominated sample of 11 online educators from various geographic locations throughout the United States was obtained. Through the process of selecting, focusing, simplifying, and transforming, five key themes emerged from11 respondents' narrative accounts, including: (a) flexibility and convenience, (b) time- and labor-intensiveness, (c) communication skills, (d) learner-centeredness, and (e) continuing education and training.  These identified themes were important in illustrating online educators' experiences, which provided new perspectives and recommendations for the development and promotion of successful communities of online learning.

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