Date of Award

January 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning

First Advisor

Pamela Beck


Many researchers have argued that teachers are the most important school-related factor to increasing a student’s academic performance. In turn, schools often turn to professional development (PD) to strengthen educators’ performance and knowledge levels. Indeed, PD can be a prime tool to improve school performance. However, its efficacy is determined by how it is perceived by teachers.

This study examines the experiences of North Dakota elementary teachers who, in response to statewide legislation, enrolled in an online PD and how their experiences shape their knowledge, beliefs, and confidence. Research has demonstrated that these three constructs (knowledge, beliefs, and confidence) have been determined to support changes to teacher practice which in turn increases student achievement. This phenomenological study seeks to examine teacher experiences as they are subjectively lived by answering the following research questions: How do rural teachers perceive an online asynchronous PD experience? What are the impacts of this experience upon their knowledge, beliefs, and confidence?