The present study sought to examine the teacher-efficacy for literacy instruction (TELI) of instructors who teach in an online environment. The phenomenological methodology sought to answer the following research questions: (1) What pedagogical practices do instructors use to provide literacy instruction in an online environment? (2) How do instructors perceive their TELI in an online environment? and (3) What impact, if any, will a Professional Learning Community (PLC) focused on Rosenblatt's Transactional Theory have on TELI in an online environment? The study consisted of a group of seven online instructors. The researcher the acting as facilitator administered the initial interviews and exit interviews and adapted an Action Research PLC with activities modeled after those that influence self-efficacy. In initial interviews, the participants described their literacy practices as mostly dialogic conversations with students in which they provide examples and non-examples for students. They used some aesthetic strategies, but their practices were mainly efferent and low taxonomically. The initial interviews also revealed that instructors felt that they did not know their students well and that their literacy instructional practices were mostly silenced by the dominant role of the standardized curriculum. It was observed that teachers sourced their confidence in TELI in an online environment not from the practices they used in an online environment, but in the practices they once used in the traditional classroom which are now silenced in an online environment. During the Action Research PLC, the researcher and participants collaborated in creating questions and instructional resources that helped students take a more aesthetic stance while still meeting the standards of the curriculum through the use of aesthetic questions and discussions, semantic association, and narrative-centered learning. The PLC structure also incorporated the four influential experiences on self-efficacy. The results of the exit interviews revealed that the teachers either remained confident or increased in confidence in their TELI in an online environment. In addition, viewing TELI through Rosenblatt's Transactional Theory aided in closing the gap in transactional distance observed by the participants because they were able to engage in more positive dialogues with their students. The PLC provided a creative space for teachers to work and deliver their personalized instruction enabling them to voice their once silenced literacy instructional practices. It can be determined that the transactions that teachers have with students mediated in an online environment have a far greater impact on TELI. Viewing literacy instruction through Rosenblatt's Transactional Theory provides a reflective experience where teachers revisit whether or not an instructional practice can improve their teaching through more aesthetic dialogue thus improving their TELI.


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Graduation Date





Olan, Elsie


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education and Human Performance


Teaching, Learning, and Leadership

Degree Program

Curriculum and Instruction









Release Date

August 2020

Length of Campus-only Access

3 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)