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Graduate Defense: Shawna Jensen

April 20 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm MDT

square graphic which says "Dissertation Defense"Dissertation Information

Title: Exploring Middle Teacher Perceptions of Virtual Teams as a Delivery Mechanism for Professional Learning

Program: Doctor of Education in Educational Technology

Advisor: Dr. Jesús Trespalacios, Educational Technology

Committee Members: Dr. Kerry Rice, Educational Technology; and Dr. Chareen Snelson, Educational Technology


Virtual teams are composed of members who work together, transcending time and space through communication technologies to meet shared goals. Many organizations currently use virtual teams to connect employees across the globe. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic forced almost all organizations to shift their employees to hybrid and remote settings. As a result, many workers across the world found themselves shifting to virtual team models. In fact, during the pandemic, teachers found themselves working and learning through virtual teams in addition to teaching remotely. This study was designed to understand how teachers perceived virtual teams and teamwork as an effective modality for delivering professional learning. A basic qualitative study was conducted where seven middle school teachers were interviewed during a 6-to-8-week period in the fall of 2022. This study asked teachers to share firsthand experiences and perceptions of learning through virtual teams and relevant, collaborative, and future-focused.

This study’s results indicate various perceived benefits and challenges when it came to using virtual teams to deliver professional learning. Participants reflected on their virtual teamwork within and across school buildings through semi-structured interviews. The findings of this study indicate strengths in flexibility and cross-school collaboration while working in virtual teams. The findings also suggest challenges around virtual team structures and community building while working in virtual teams.