Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Judith B. Harris

Committee Member

Mark Hofer

Committee Member

Jeremy Stoddard


Proponents of K-12 online learning claim that it can provide more equitable learning opportunities by offering access to courses that might not otherwise be available to students, and by providing personalized learning experiences. Despite the growth of online learning in K-12 public schools, very little is known about what constitutes good online teaching. The purpose of this interpretivist investigation was to learn about some of the ways in which culturally responsive teaching can occur online. This study focused on the practices of four full-time online high school teachers. Using the methods of grounded theory research, I analyzed data generated through observations of online courses, interviews with teachers, and teacher-written narratives in order to learn how four instructors practiced culturally responsive online pedagogy in one state-supported online program. Results indicated that the teachers engaged in frequent and ongoing dialogue with their students. The teachers used multiple strategies to get to know their students, to build class community, to adapt instruction to students’ learning needs and preferences, and to make learning relevant. Teachers also discussed contextual factors (e.g., program structure and student enrollment) that impacted their practice. However, some characteristics of culturally responsive pedagogy, including infusing students’ cultures into the curriculum and helping students to challenge power and hegemony, did not emerge. A discussion of these results includes potential implications for educational leaders at the state, district, and program levels, as well as recommendations for future research on culturally responsive online pedagogy (CROP).



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