Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




online student engagement, teacher leadership, distributed leadership, constructivism, social constructionism, community of practice


This Organizational Improvement Plan seeks to address inadequate online student engagement within online classrooms at University X. Inadequate student engagement risks students’ learning, persistence, performance, and academic achievement (Kuh, Cruce, Shoup, Kinzi, & Gonyea, 2008; Meyer, 2014; Pardo, Han, & Ellis, 2016; Phan, McNeil, & Robin, 2016), demonstrating the pressing need to improve online student engagement. This work is undertaken in the context of substantial growth in online education, accelerated in the short term by a movement to online delivery of face-to-face post-secondary education necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. The author considers this problem from a non-traditional leadership role of an adjunct online instructor, and so employs distributed leadership, as enacted through teacher leadership, from the vantage point of constructivism. The assumptions of emergent and continuous change which underpin this result in the selection of Weick and Quinn’s (1999) freeze, rebalance, unfreeze framework for leading change and sensemaking as a tool to conduct a critical organizational analysis, in alignment with the author’s constructivist perspective. The author recommends engaging in a period of individual modifications to her instructional practice, followed by the development of a Community of Practice. This Community of Practice will collaboratively build a definition of online student engagement and develop relevant changes to practice designed to improve online student engagement in the online classrooms of the Community of Practice. Communication is a critical element of this plan as the author must engage colleagues and build momentum with limited resources.