Living Reference Work Entry

Learning, Design, and Technology

pp 1-17

Date: View Latest Version

What Motivates Exemplary Online Teachers? A Multiple-Case Study

(SNA) in OnlineCourses
  • Evrim BaranAffiliated withDepartment of Educational Sciences, Middle East Technical University Email author 
  • , Ana-Paula CorreiaAffiliated withThe Ohio State University


Teachers’ embracing of online teaching is a key factor in the growth of online education. While it is critical to examine exemplary online teachers’ practices to present models for successful online teaching, limited research exists on why exemplary teachers decide to teach online. In order to identify strategies for supporting online teachers, a multiple case study was conducted in the context of a large research university in the Midwestern United States. Ethnographic interviews were conducted with six online teachers identified as exemplary. Results suggested that both intrinsic factors (e.g., observing exemplary courses, having a background in distance education, answering the needs of nontraditional students, and trying alternative approaches to online teaching) and extrinsic factors (e.g., technology, pedagogy, professional development, and financial support) influenced exemplary online teachers’ decisions to teach online. The results of this study reveal critical recommendations for faculty support and development for online teaching.


e-Learning Multiple case study Online teacher