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1 Understanding Faculty Motivation to Teach Online Courses Scott E. Schopieray, Ph.D. Michigan State University October 12, 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Understanding Faculty Motivation to Teach Online Courses Scott E. Schopieray, Ph.D. Michigan State University October 12, 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Understanding Faculty Motivation to Teach Online Courses Scott E. Schopieray, Ph.D. Michigan State University October 12, 2006

2 2 Background In the United States, 65% of institutions offering graduate degrees also offer graduate level online courses. Online learning is growing at rates of 18-22% per year Overall, 56% of schools in the United States reported online learning to be a “critical long-term strategy” Demand for faculty, particularly online faculty, is expected to grow at least 36% in the next 10 years 74% of universities expected online enrollments to increase in the coming years (Sloan Consortium, 2005; United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2004)

3 3 Research Problem The focus on online teaching brings new challenges: students must relearn how to learn teachers must modify teaching styles administrators must staff programs with qualified faculty Why faculty are or are not motivated to teach online courses?

4 4 Literature Review Faculty Participation in Online Teaching - studies on DE and technology Technology & Organizational Change - frames of reference, models of change Faculty Development & Adult Learning - participation, characteristics

5 5 Framework The study used Caffarella and Zinn’s (1999) framework for studying faculty participation in development activities to organize data collection and guide initial inquiry Four Domains from Caffarella and Zinn (1999) People and Interpersonal Relations Intellectual and Psychosocial issues Institutional Structures Personal Commitments and Considerations

6 6 Study Design 1. Survey - 50 choice, short answer, and likert questions - 1 open-ended question 2. Semi-structured, open-ended interviews - 11 questions - survey follow-up questions Reliability (Cronbach’s Alpha) Domain# QuestionsAlpha All People/ Interpersonal Intellectual/ Psychosocial Institutional Structures Mixed methods approach

7 7 Participants College of education at a research I, land grant university in the Midwestern United States. 71 of 123 invited participated in the survey portion (58%), 15 of 71 participated in the interviews (21%).

8 8 Results – High Ranked Factors Future Course – All Faculty 1.Effective technical support provided in your College (5.02) 2.Opportunity to enrich teaching by drawing on web resources (4.69) 3.Intellectual challenge of learning a new way of teaching (4.69) 4.Ability to have flexible teaching hours and locations while teaching online courses (4.58)

9 9 Results – High Ranked Factors Faculty Who Have Taught Online Prior CourseFuture Course 1.Intellectual challenge of learning a new way of teaching (4.83) 2.Ability of online courses to reach new audiences that cannot attend classes on campus (4.65) 3.Opportunity to enrich my teaching by drawing on web resources (4.58) 1.Effective technical support provided in your College (4.96) 2.Ability of online courses to reach new audiences that cannot attend classes on campus (4.83) 3.Opportunity to enrich my teaching by drawing on web resources (4.73) 4.Intellectual challenge of learning a new way of teaching (4.69) 5.Ability to have flexible teaching hours and locations while teaching online courses (4.68) 6.Opportunity for scholarly pursuit in connection with online teaching and learning (4.54)

10 10 Results – High Ranked Factors Faculty Who Have Taught Online Prior CourseFuture Course 1.Intellectual challenge of learning a new way of teaching (4.83) 2.Ability of online courses to reach new audiences that cannot attend classes on campus (4.65) 3.Opportunity to enrich my teaching by drawing on web resources (4.58) 1.Effective technical support provided in your College (4.96) 2.Ability of online courses to reach new audiences that cannot attend classes on campus (4.83) 3.Opportunity to enrich my teaching by drawing on web resources (4.73) 4.Intellectual challenge of learning a new way of teaching (4.69) 5.Ability to have flexible teaching hours and locations while teaching online courses (4.68) 6.Opportunity for scholarly pursuit in connection with online teaching and learning (4.54)

11 11 Results – High Rated Factors Future Course – Faculty Who Have Not Taught Online 1.Effective technical support provided in your College (5.05) 2.Equipment provided by your college to help you teach your online course (4.82) 3.Effective technical support provided in your Department (4.78) 4.Graduate assistant or similar support provided by your college to help you teach your online course (4.76) 5.Intellectual challenge of learning a new way of teaching (4.68) 6.Training in online teaching methods provided by your College (4.66) 7.Opportunity to develop new ideas about teaching and learning processes (4.65) 8.Opportunities for merit pay, overload or stipend based on your instruction of online courses (4.58) 9.Availability of college or departmental funds for materials and expenses involved with online teaching (4.51) 10.Ability to have flexible teaching hours and locations while teaching online courses (4.51)

12 12 Results – Emerging Categories Open ended question - Issues of Teaching and Student Learning - Issues of Technology Support - Issues of Time Interviews - Issues of Teaching and Student Learning - Issues of Time - Professional Opportunities and Challenges Survey All subcategories were present in top ranked variables Convergent Validity

13 13 Why Do Faculty Teach Online? Teaching and Student Learning I was initially skeptical,, but came to cherish the development of that first course as a means to think deeply about teaching – not just ‘teaching on-line” but teaching as an intellectual and professional art - Case 33 (p. 69) Professional Opportunities & Scholarship I think some faculty members who have been teaching for a while find it revitalized their teaching, or rejuvenating, or something like that in it - Case 62 (p. 83) Personal Interests

14 14 Why Do Faculty Not Teach Online? Teaching and Student Learning I’m still thinking about whether it’s a good idea or not… It's something that's the way of the future and it's very cost effective to do… but in terms of learning, I'm not convinced that it's better. Someone might be able to make the case to me that it's no worse, in which case the other benefits might make it something I'm willing to go with. - Case 23 (p. 80) Time Spent Developing and Teaching I don’t think it’s a resistance at all to online teaching. I think it’s just one more thing to add to a basket full of challenging professional activities and in order to do things up to that person’s standards, it would take sacrificing something else. – Case 13 (p.82) Resources and Technical Support

15 15 Factors that Sustain Motivation Intrinsic benefits of teaching online  Satisfaction with experience  Professional growth  Opportunities for intellectual challenges Technical and Pedagogical support  Just-in-time and Sustained support  Formal and informal groups

16 16 Challenges When Participating Student participation and engagement Pedagogically there is always the challenge of making certain that everybody is participating and engaged in the work…and that is a challenge [in any medium]. - Case 42 “Lack of creativity” Understanding the new role of instructors  Changes in teaching styles  Student centered learning

17 17 Reasons for Non-Participation They don’t understand it, they simply don’t understand it – Case 37 (p.93) Concerns about pedagogical quality  Student learning  Teaching methods  Subject area Tenure concerns Concerns about time Teaching an online course would be too much. I’m still trying to figure out where to get my haircut, go to the dentist, etc! - Case 62 (p.82)

18 18 Implications Complex area, no simple answers Teaching online appears to change views Need for clear and credible tenure policies Opportunities for discourse are important  Formal and informal Access to resources is essential  Support, financial, equipment, etc.

19 19 Suggestions for Future Research Longitudinal studies focusing on faculty development over time Focus group discussions, allowing for faculty discussion about online teaching Interviews with college administrators and support staff

20 20 Questions?


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