Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Luetkehans, Lara M.||Hung, Wei-Chen

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment


Distance education; Computer-assisted instruction


Even though online courses have existed for more than a decade, some students and instructors continue to face problems with online learning environments. As a result, prior to conducting the case study, I conducted a pre-study to help me understand how students and instructors view the problems they face in online courses. After gaining an understanding of the problems that students and instructors faced, I used the four types of interaction and an analytical model as a framework to guide my investigation in order to understand the nature of interaction in an online course. In this study I found that the combination of the three types of interaction and the analytical model help teaching and learning become more effective. I found that when the instructor applied the analytical model: frequency of interaction, patterns of online interaction, the level of the learner-instructor interaction in online course increased. Furthermore, social cues encouraged learner-instructor interaction when the instructor allowed students to build rapport with their instructor and classmates in the first week of the class. Moreover, I found that when the instructor led the online interaction by using the frequency of interaction and patterns of online interaction from the analytical model, it also promoted the learner-learner interaction. Moreover, using social cues in the beginning of the online course assisted students in becoming familiar with their classmates. As a result, students felt more comfortable sharing information with their fellow classmates. Finally, I found that when instructor used the cognitive and metacognitive approaches in the assignments, it assisted students to think critically and develop skills and knowledge that they can use outside of the classroom. The results of this study help me to recommend some practices that would be helpful for online instructors and instructional institutions to design and deliver online courses effectively. Some recommendations for online instructors include the following: (1) identify learners as early as possible, (2) provide technology orientation as early as possible, (3) post course content and course information gradually, (4) provide assistance, search for addition information, and require students to participate as much as possible, and (5) provide opportunities to express social cues as early as possible. I also recommend the following for online institutions: (1) train faculty appropriately with technological skills and (2) provide adequate online teaching strategies.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [128]-136).


xii, 164 pages




Northern Illinois University

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