Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Childhood Education and Literacy Studies

Major Professor

James King, Ed.D.

Co-Major Professor

Jenifer Schneider, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Danielle Dennis, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Glenn Smith, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jennifer Wolgemuth, Ph.D.


Literacy, Programming, Coding, Digital Media, Multimodal


In this dissertation I present findings from a qualitative case study of five early adolescents engaged in an online programming community. As a researcher, I was interested in how early adolescents designed digital media as they learned how to code within an online programming community known as Scratch. My research was guided by two questions: (1) What are the literacy practices and processes embedded in the design and collaboration of products created within an online programming community? (2) In what ways do participants make decisions in the design of their projects created in Scratch? The data collected for this descriptive case study included participant created digital media products, interviews, observations, and online community artifacts. Based upon a content analysis of the digital media products and an inductive analysis of the interviews, observations, and community artifacts data, I determined participants demonstrated decisions connected to the design of projects created, decisions focused on the function of projects, and decisions connected with meaning. I created a typography to represent the decisions made by participants as they created projects in Scratch. Additionally, participants expressed a sense of accomplishment and expertise in Scratch product development. Findings from this research provide a nuanced understanding of the literacy practices and processes enacted by early adolescents as they create digital media in an online programming community via the use of coding.