Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Libi Shen, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

John D’Aguanno, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Anastasia D’Angelo, Ed.D.


The problem at the center of this study was the fact that full-time virtual students often showed less learning gains than their traditional counterparts. The purpose of the study was to explore teachers’ perceptions of internal and external factors influencing students’ academic achievement in online courses. The central research question was: what factors do teachers perceive as a significant impact on online students’ success? A qualitative method with a case study design was adopted. Data were collected through individual teacher interviews and a focus group discussion in southeastern region of the United States. The results showed five significant themes: student motivation/drive in academics, teacher support for online students, communication between stakeholders for student success, parent support of the student, and home life of the student. The implication of this study highlights the need for all stakeholders to evaluate the effectiveness of virtual coursework and redesign course framework to meet the needs of students. The recommendation for further research includes expanding the scope of the study to understand online learning’s impact on other student populations, including student populations across the United States, along with countries around the world.

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