Date of Award

January 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning

First Advisor

Sagini Keengwe


Higher education is rapidly changing, and instructors are striving to match the needs of 21st-century digital learners. There is a growing demand and shift from traditional classes to the online mode of instruction for most post-secondary learning institutions. Additionally, with the recent pandemic (COVID-19), post-secondary institutions had to transform and revise their courses to online and hybrid models. Higher education institutions struggled with limited knowledge, skills, and resources to design syllabi and implement online education courses to meet the needs of their students to attain quality education.

The purpose of this study was to explore higher education faculty members' experiences in designing quality syllabi for online education. This study was grounded in the theoretical framework of Edmund Husserl's descriptive phenomenology through interviews. Data obtained from interviews were recorded and stored on a flash drive reserved only for this research. The researcher analyzed interviews by carefully listening, reviewing, and reading the lived experiences of each participant. Then the researcher transcribed recorded interviews into written text using the FTW Transcriber software. This helped the researcher get a deep and rich understanding of the phenomenon (designing a quality syllabus) through finding “significant statements” and determining the “themes” of each participant's experiences. Findings indicated that this phenomenological study about higher education faculty members’ lived experiences in teaching and learning will help faculty and researchers to understand how to design a quality syllabus for online education that will satisfy the needs of diverse students. Ten themes emerged from the in-depth interviews conducted to gain insights into higher education faculty members’ lived experiences. These themes included: title section, course description, learner outcomes, course organization, course evaluation, course accessibility, course policies and calendar, academic integrity, professional behavior, and equal opportunity. These themes are the components required in a quality syllabus for an online course. These research results will contribute to efficient pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning in online education setting.