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ERIC Number: ED534065
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 328
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1248-3079-7
Preparing to Teach Online as Transformative Faculty Development
McQuiggan, Carol A.
ProQuest LLC, D.Ed. Dissertation, The Pennsylvania State University
An action research study was conducted at a campus college of a large Research I institution of higher education to explore transformative learning among higher education faculty as a result of participating in a blended program to prepare them to teach online. The purposeful sample included six full-time and one adjunct faculty, teaching a mix of undergraduate and graduate courses in education, engineering, and public affairs. All had a desire to move toward online teaching by preparing a course for hybrid delivery during the fall semester of 2009. This study used a qualitative action research methodology. The purpose of this study was to explore how faculty learn to teach online and how that may influence their face-to-face teaching. The research questions were: (1) Which aspects of the professional development activities do faculty perceive as being most effective in helping them to reflect on and question their previously held assumptions and beliefs about teaching? (2) Do faculty experience changes in their previously held assumptions and beliefs about teaching as a result of learning to teach online and, if so, how does transformative learning explain the changes? (3) What impact does learning to teach online have on face-to-face teaching practices? These questions required a research paradigm and methodology that tried to understand faculty as unique individuals with a variety of assumptions, beliefs, and lived experiences that have informed how they teach. Action research consists of a cyclical process of planning, acting and observing, reflecting. The first phase of planning, which involves problem identification, was completed through a literature review, my own previous research, and dialogue with faculty who considered changes to their face-to-face teaching after teaching online. The second step of the planning phase defined the details of the action research project including intervention strategies, when and how to begin, and how to involve the participants. The major portion of this project was implemented in 2009 during a six-week summer session and concluded close to the end of the fall semester. The project began with a planning phase that included individual interviews in which the faculty shared their needs, concerns, and personal goals for the program. They were given readings related to online teaching, and access to an online reflection journal and encouraged to complete the readings and post their first journal entry prior to our first face-to-face group meeting. Decisions were made regarding evaluation measures, length of study, and how the action and change would be observed and documented. Faculty were given periodic writing prompts for their personal reflection journals that allowed them to share their learning and ask questions throughout the program. During the acting and observing phase, the action was implemented and data was collected. The pre-interviews, which were recorded and transcribed, lasted between thirty and sixty minutes. The questions were meant to bring awareness to the assumptions and beliefs upon which their teaching practices are based. Post-interviews were conducted at the conclusion of the faculty professional development program to document changes in their assumptions and beliefs from the pre-interviews. In the third phase of this action research study, each data collection and evaluation period provided an opportunity to determine whether faculty had an opportunity to reflect on their previously held assumptions and beliefs about teaching. If little or no reflection occurred, a new cycle of action research with a different activity or approach was planned. Alternately, when reflection did occur, then repeating the activity was considered in the next cycle of research. Three cycles of action research were completed so new action could lead to new reflection, which led to more action, and so on. Each cycle provided more learning about the problem and interventions. Learning to teach online has the potential to transform faculty's assumptions and beliefs about teaching, changing their face-to-face teaching practices. Transformative learning explained changes in previously held assumptions and beliefs about teaching as a result of learning to teach online. This was most clearly evident in the difference between faculty's expectations of teaching online and what actually happened when they taught online. Learning was better than they expected. Learning to teach online impacted face-to-face teaching practices. Beth was able to be more open and flexible, tailoring classroom time based on students' online discussion. Ralph used to believe that if students were not in class they could not learn, but there was more soft learning online than in the classroom. Kay stepped away from PowerPoint and replaced it with classroom discussion that was more student-driven based on their online discussions. (Abstract shortened by UMI.) [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Adult Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A