Date of Award


Degree Name

Curriculum and Instruction


College of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Luke Eric Lassiter, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Edna M. Meisel, Committee Member

Third Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Campbell, Committee Member


The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted education around the world. During that time, teachers often turned to online communities to compensate for an inability to connect with in-person professional communities. This study aims to highlight a single, successful online community of AP Literature teachers who use the app Voxer to communicate. The purpose of this project was to provide insight into how this group creates personal and professional community, and how they specifically did so during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data for this ethnography was collected from the group’s posts on the Voxer app from March 11, 2020 to June 30, 2021. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with nine of the active members of the group between November 2022 and January 2023. Reasons for the success of the group as a personal community include a high level of voluntary self-disclosure, community ritual, and shared experiences. Reasons for the success of the group as a professional community include respect for the collective expertise of the members and their willingness to share resources and ideas freely. The group was successful navigating the pandemic because they already had an established community that was able to shift to supporting its members’ unique needs for resources but also emotional support during the crisis. For the professional community and the community as it dealt with the pandemic, the group’s geographical distance from each other was found to be an advantage. The findings of this study indicate a need for teachers to find and/or establish a strong community, preferably with an online component, before the next crisis hits.


Advanced placement programs (Education).

Teachers and community.

COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-

Communication and technology.

Application software -- Social aspects.

Professional learning communities.

Professional learning and development in schools and higher education.