ERIC Number: EJ1144803
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
How University Faculty Members Developed Their Online Teaching Skills
Schmidt, Steven W.; Hodge, Elizabeth M.; Tschida, Christina M.
Quarterly Review of Distance Education, v14 n3 p131-140 2013
Not enough is known about the online instructor in higher education and about the experiences of instructors who move from face-to-face to online teaching. It is within the context of higher education that this research project on the processes by which faculty learn to teach online was conducted. Specifically, the study addressed the following questions: (1) How did university professors begin teaching online? What were the experiences associated with that initial online teaching experience? (2) What have these professors learned about teaching online as a result of their online teaching experiences? and (3) How have these professors evolved as online instructors? In order to address the research questions, a basic qualitative approach using focus groups was employed. Data for this study were collected over the course of one academic year (2011-12). Participants were instructors of online courses from various program areas and levels of experience within the college of education at a large southeastern university. A series of three 90-minute focus groups was conducted and audio taped. Each focus group discussion was transcribed; transcripts were read and coded for themes by individual researchers then compared for reliability. Findings revealed that when asked to teach online, instructors looked to their institutions for support and guidance. However, those institutions were able to offer limited support simply because they were in the same situation as the instructors. The concept of online teaching and learning was new to everyone. That seemed to result in a "do what you think is best"-type philosophy with regard to support given to new online instructors, and further resulted in instructors learning through a trial and error-type approach while they were actually teaching. Formal resources at the institutional level only improved after a body of knowledge on online teaching began to be developed.
Descriptors: College Faculty, Teaching Skills, Skill Development, Web Based Instruction, Online Courses, Teaching Experience, Qualitative Research, Focus Groups, Experiential Learning, Prior Learning, Distance Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
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