Teaching Style in the Online Classroom

Teaching Style in the Online Classroom

Debra Campbell (SBI Technologies, USA) and Zane Berge (University of Maryland - Baltimore County, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch304
OnDemand PDF Download:
$37.50

Abstract

As with the long line of learning technologies that preceded it, the integration of online classrooms has progressed beyond the experimental stage and entered the mainstream at many colleges and universities. Today, more than three-fourths (76.6%) of campuses offer online course registration, compared to 70.9% in 2002, half in 2001, and a fifth (20.9%) in 1998 (Campus Computing Project Survey, 2003). It should be noted that the larger the institution, the greater the percentage offering distance education courses, with 87% of institutions with over 10,000 students offered distance education in 1997-1998 (U.S. Department of Education, 1999). In addition to classes offered entirely online, it is projected that 50% of all college courses will be hybrids (i.e., include both online and classroom elements) within a decade (Arnone, 2002). Many proponents of online learning see hybrid or blended learning as a way to correct mistakes of the past and to create a new and better form of active learning (Gold, 2001; McDonald & Postle, 1999).
Chapter Preview
Top

Introduction

As with the long line of learning technologies that preceded it, the integration of online classrooms has progressed beyond the experimental stage and entered the mainstream at many colleges and universities. Today, more than three-fourths (76.6%) of campuses offer online course registration, compared to 70.9% in 2002, half in 2001, and a fifth (20.9%) in 1998 (Campus Computing Project Survey, 2003). It should be noted that the larger the institution, the greater the percentage offering distance education courses, with 87% of institutions with over 10,000 students offered distance education in 1997-1998 (U.S. Department of Education, 1999). In addition to classes offered entirely online, it is projected that 50% of all college courses will be hybrids (i.e., include both online and classroom elements) within a decade (Arnone, 2002). Many proponents of online learning see hybrid or blended learning as a way to correct mistakes of the past and to create a new and better form of active learning (Gold, 2001; McDonald & Postle, 1999).

Despite this general sense of optimism, little research has been done that examines the conditions necessary to promote successful online learning (Quitadamo & Brown, 2001; Toki & Caukill, 2003). Much of the research conducted comparatively studies distance and traditional methods of education (Diaz & Bontenbal, 2001; Hall, 1999; Russell, 1999). Results from much of this research, however, seem to indicate that the technology, while a catalyst for major change, is itself not nearly as important as other factors, one of which is the role of the instructor (Berge, 1996; Glassman & Barbour, 2004; LaMonica, 2001; Masie,2000, 2003; Phipps & Merisotis, 1999). Many experts suggest that the key to radical change, and ultimately the true success of online learning, will not result from advances in technology, but rather changes within the instructor and with the instruction (Barker & Baker, 1995; Berge, 1995; Girrod & Cavannaugh, 2001; Hicks, Reid & George, 1999; Johnston, 1998; Matuga, 2001; Morse & Truman, 1996; Palloff & Pratt, 2001).

Despite current trends toward an increased emphasis on the use of online technology-based learning environments, surveys of faculty computer usage indicate that there are wide variations in the levels of receptivity and involvement to their use. Jaffee (1998) estimated that only a relatively small percentage, 20-30%, of the faculty population use new instructional technologies such as asynchronous learning networks. Many faculty continue to view teaching in the virtual environment, without a classroom, as an unattractive alternative. To many, the classroom has taken on the status of a sacred institution. It has historically centralized all the power, authority, and control into the hands of the instructor and, in doing so, has heavily shaped and reinforced their identity as a teacher. Teaching, for these educators, in the virtual environment is incongruous with their basic understanding of the essential nature of teaching (Arnone, 2002; Jaffee, 1998; McFadden, Marsh & Price, 1999; Schifter, 2000). Why do some instructors quickly and easily embrace changes enabled by advances in technology while others do not?

Key Terms in this Chapter

Individual Differences: Many of a learner’s personal characteristics can affect how he or she learns. Individual differences are often explanations for differences in learning and performance among learners. The study of individual differences among learners’ permits is done with the idea that results can help educators design instruction that better meets the needs of each learner’s needs.

Learning Technologies: Media, computing, and telecommunications tools used to support the learning process either on or off campus such as audio and video recorders, fax machines, CD-ROMs, video projectors, computers, modems, telephones, audio and video conferencing systems, satellite systems, film, and television.

Personality Type: Used to explain temperaments that affect behaviors which create actions. Allows people to understand their personality preferences, particularly with respect to energy source, information gathering, decision making, and lifestyle/work patterns. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® is a well-known example of an instrument used to develop an individual’s personality type profile.

Online Learning: Education that is delivered using a computer or computer network, often actively connected to the Internet.

Diffusion of Innovation: The spreading of an innovation, its emulation, and copying throughout firms, industries, and countries. Intra-firm diffusion is the rate by which old technologies are displaced by new ones (Parker, 1978).

Teaching Style(s): Teachers approach their classrooms differently. This approach profoundly affects the design of the online course. Grasha (1996) identified the following five teaching styles as a description of prevalent aspects of faculty presence in the classroom: expert, formal authority, personal model, facilitator, and delegator.

Changing Role(s) of the Online Instructor: Online learning environments or even adding Web components to face-to-face classes changes the roles of the teacher and the learner (see, e.g., Berge, 1996).

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset