Interpreting experiences of students using educational online technologies to interact with teachers in blended tertiary environments: A phenomenological study

Kimberley Tuapawa


Although educational online technologies (EOTs) have transformed the delivery of learning in higher education, significant EOT challenges have impeded their effectiveness, preventing widespread implementation. The persistence of these challenges suggests that tertiary education institutes (TEIs) have experienced a gap in understandings about the reality of key stakeholders’ EOT needs. This research made a phenomenological interpretation of key stakeholders’ EOT experiences, to establish their current EOT needs and challenges and provide a basis from which to recommend methods for effective EOT support. It analysed the EOT experiences of 10 students and 10 teachers from New Zealand and Australia and interpreted the meanings of the phenomena through an abstraction and articulation of local and global themes. This paper is the first in a series of six publications that presents the local themes. It documents the interpretations of students’ experiences with teachers, in reference to their use of four types of EOTs: online conference tools, learning management systems, blog sites and lecture capture tools. These interpretations, which include descriptions of stakeholders’ EOT challenges, helped to inform a set of recommendations for effective EOT use, to assist TEIs in their efforts to address EOT challenges and meet stakeholders’ needs.


Tertiary education; blended learning; online technology; teacher experiences; student experiences

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