Date of Award:

Spring 2017

Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences


Mimi Recker


The goal of this study was to examine the professional development experiences of two participants while they were creating standards-based individualized education plan (IEP) goals using a virtual world called TeacherSim. The focuses of the study were how did special educators engage with the task of creating standards-based IEP goals using TeacherSim and how did TeacherSim support or hinder this? This research used a descriptive case study selecting two participants from the larger data set of seven participants. The data was analyzed using qualitative coding which compared the observed experiences with the case propositions. This case study demonstrated that special education professionals can work at a distance to learn the process of creating standards-based IEP goals while using the technology of a virtual world. Similarly, the use of virtual world technology appeared to facilitate feelings of physical and social presence, which aided in online collaborative activities.