Date of Award

Fall 12-12-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

EdD Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Barbara Strobert, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Christopher Tienken, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Kim Buxembaum, Psy. D.


online learning, virtual learning, remote instruction, teacher, perceptions, pandemic learning, students with disabilities



The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore teachers’ perception of the impact of the switch to emergency remote teaching on students with disabilities during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, as well as the factors that helped or hindered their academic and social-emotional achievement levels and motivation. A secondary goal of this study is to add to the literature on strategies to improve the outcomes of students with disabilities in an online/virtual learning environment. An interview protocol that included semi-structured, open-ended questions was used to capture the perceptions of 15 special education teachers. Rich qualitative data were gleaned from interviews. After careful analysis of interview transcripts, three themes emerged, which influenced the study’s conclusions: (a) teacher preparedness and its impact on students, (b) the social and emotional impact on students and staff, and (c) the strategies for improving future online instruction for students with disabilities (SWDs). All but two teachers felt they were prepared for the transition to emergency remote instruction. There were variations in teacher experiences across the board, and everyone agreed that the experience affected their mental state. Each educator reported a commitment to working more efficiently should another rapid and abrupt switch to online learning occur. This research has implications in the areas of online education program funding, online curriculum development and implementation, online instruction and assessment procedures, educator qualifications, and training.