Date of Award

December 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Urban Education

First Advisor

Leanne Evans

Committee Members

Candance Doerr-Stevens, Marie Sandy, Louis Chicquette


arts integration, online learning, professional development, teacher collaboration, teaching and learning


The unexpected halt of in-person teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic added another layer to an already sizeable and imperative gap in research on arts integrated teacher collaboration. Research shows that teacher collaboration is essential to effective arts integration and can have powerful, positive outcomes for students and teachers (Burnaford et al., 2007; Burton et al., 1999; Carney et al., 2016; Duma & Silverstein, 2014; Lynch, 2007; Snyder et al., 2014; Upitis et al., 1999; Vitulli et al., 2013), but less is understood about the characteristics of and teacher experiences with collaboration in arts integrated environments. The reconceptualization of teaching and learning in K-12 schools—as well as teacher professional learning in the arts—to online platforms in the context of a pandemic is unprecedented. The purpose of this study was to illuminate teacher experience with collaboration in arts integrated environments in the context of an unexpected era of online teaching and learning. The phenomenological case study design of this research embraced mindsets of philosophical hermeneutics (Agrey, 2014; Herda, 1999) and participatory action research (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016; Stringer, 2007), both of which focus on interpretation of lived experiences and emphasize the role of participants as co-researchers. Individual participant interviews were the primary source of data, triangulated with observational field notes and a collaborative member-checking and art-making process of the researcher’s design. Findings of this inquiry included collaboration as a “bright spot,” how the online environment hindered teacher experience, and ideas of wall-building and “wall-dissolving” in virtual learning spaces. These findings contribute to research on teacher professional development, online learning, and arts integrated pedagogy, with implications for pre-service and in-service teachers, professional development, administration, and educational policy.

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