A Duoethnographic Exploration of Persistent Technological Failures in Synchronous Online Education


  • Phillip Allen Olt Fort Hays State University
  • Eric D Teman University of Wyoming




duoethnography, dialogic inquiry, synchronous online education, educational technology


While higher education becomes increasingly reliant upon technology to deliver instruction, technological failures profoundly affect faculty members and students. We used duoethnography to explore the student-instructor dynamic during persistent technological failures within a synchronous online course, which occurred during a semester-long, qualitative research methods course. Duoethnography allowed us to first explore our own experiences and then engage in a continuous dialogue to interrogate the same event without privileging one voice over the other. We provide a series of dialogues of our shared understandings and different perspectives, taken from discussions and reflections on the experience. We then provide deeply personal insight into how faculty members and students may be affected by technological failures in distance education.


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Author Biographies

Phillip Allen Olt, Fort Hays State University

Phillip A. OLT, EdD, is an assistant professor of higher education and student affairs at Fort Hays State University, United States. His research interests are in the interaction of students with faculty members in distance education, regulatory compliance in higher education, and the use of qualitative research in the education field.

Eric D Teman, University of Wyoming

Eric D. TEMAN, JD, PhD, is an assistant professor of educational research in the School of Counseling, Leadership, Advocacy & Design in the College of Education and Acting Co-director of the Social Justice Research Center at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming. He specializes in arts-based qualitative inquiry, and his research interests include ethical and methodological appropriateness when studying queer individuals. Current research includes using autoethnographic poetic inquiry, screenplay writing, and ethnodrama to investigate various issues within the queer population, e.g., suicide, self-harm, homelessness, depression, helplessness, bullying.




How to Cite

Olt, P. A., & Teman, E. D. (2018). A Duoethnographic Exploration of Persistent Technological Failures in Synchronous Online Education. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 19(3). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-19.3.3039