Date of Award

Fall 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education


Department of Education

Primary Advisor

Dr. Sarah Yates

Second Advisor

Dr. Thomas Gollery

Third Advisor

Dr. Lisa Coscia


The purpose of this non-experimental, quantitative survey study was to determine how middle school students in fully online language arts courses perceived their teachers to be present and what methods of communication with the teacher middle school students desired. The purposive sample was composed of 100 sixth and seventh grade language arts students from a large virtual school in the southeastern United States. Student responses were overwhelmingly skewed, and results from the survey indicated a statistically significant finding. Students in online middle school find their teachers to be present and desire to be communicated with using text messages first and phone calls second. The researcher found that communicating with students using the desired mode of communication is beneficial to students in online learning environments and that students find teachers to be present when teachers communicate with students with immediacy. Keywords: virtual school, online education, online learning, online school, virtual education, middle school, teacher presence, teacher immediacy, communication, sixth grade, seventh grade, eighth grade, junior high school, junior high, jr. high, jr. high school, teacher-student communication, student-teacher communication