Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Johnson, Laura R.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment (ETRA)


The purpose of this exploratory case study was to understand how elementary students perceived their learning and engagement in a remote learning environment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Five students elected to join the study with parental permission, ranging in grades 3rd – 5th. Interviews were conducted on Zoom with the students as well as their teachers and the students were observed during synchronous learning times.Data analysis identified three areas of themes: the remote learning experience, control and power struggles, and preferences for or against remote learning. Within the first area, the remote learning experience, students identified ways to personalize their home learning environment and stay organized. They also found ways to build flexibility into an intense schedule. Teachers provided both asynchronous and synchronous learning opportunities that were largely based on their previous activities from in-person learning. In the second area, control and power struggles, the school and teachers found ways to exert control over the students physical at home. The students, in turn, found ways to fight against the control and battle to oversee their behavior, actions, and learning. The final area, preferences for or against remote learning, showcased a split in opinion on remote learning. While all but one student enjoyed remote learning, the content area impacted their opinion. Their opinions were also swayed by the lack of social interaction they experienced as well as being isolated from others outside of the school day. Last, students wanted interactive and collaborative activities online, something they did not feel they were able to experience. The findings suggest multiple ways to improve remote learning including building additional support for students and teachers online, evaluating the technology used for remote learning, and enhancing online instruction with authentic learning activities. A focus on pedagogy and technology for teacher professional development as well as online course design would benefit students as well.


360 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type