Faculty Training Strategies to Enhance Pedagogy-Technology Integration

Faculty Training Strategies to Enhance Pedagogy-Technology Integration

Jared Keengwe (University of North Dakota, USA), David Georgina (Minnesota State University, Mankato, USA) and Patrick Wachira (Cleveland State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jicte.2010070101
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One of the unprecedented benefits of campus-wide distance learning strategies has been the incorporation of more technology-based pedagogy into traditional classrooms, thus, increasing faculty and student teaching and learning opportunities. This “hybrid” or “blended” teaching has emerged largely due to a desire to widen access to educational opportunities, continuing education, and university resources (Curran, 2004; Garrison & Kanuka, 2004). However, a major challenge to this technologically enhanced pedagogy has been the training of higher education faculty. This article focuses on faculty technology literacy, the implementation of technology into traditional faculty pedagogy, and the need for effective faculty training to enhance appropriate technology integration into classroom instruction (Keengwe, 2007). In this paper, the authors recommend two tier training as a possible strategy to technology integration training challenges that instructors face in their pedagogical practices.
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Universities and colleges across the globe have focused upon creating Information Technology (IT) infrastructures to enhance the quality of teaching and learning, especially one that is provided though e-learning or distance education platforms. State of the art technology, access to the Internet, asynchronous learning tools (teaching platforms), and teacher training facilities are present in many institutions of higher education around the world. Additionally, efforts to meet the demands of the 21st century learner have led to dramatic increase in the number of online courses offered by many institutions of higher learning across the nation.

In the United States, almost 64 percent of all institutions offer at least one online course and 55 percent of all institutions offer at least one blended course (Allen, Seaman, & Garret, 2007). Distance education technology programs are seen as a means to broaden enrollment and increase gross margins. As a result, at some point in their teaching career, university instructors will consider teaching their classes either partially or fully online (Clark-Ibanez & Scott, 2008). However, the move from traditional to online teaching has created additional responsibilities for participating faculty members as well as students.

The pathway of course migration to online learning environments often begins with the assumption that instructional designs, grading procedures, and other methods that typically work in the traditional classroom would remain the same in online settings. However, that is not the case – the major challenge to this technology-enhanced pedagogy remains that of providing training to faculty to ensure transition of this process. Specifically, there is need for professional development activities and support programs that will help faculty successfully teach online.

Faculty need to prepare graduates who can effectively use technology as a learning tool, yet the faculty themselves are new to various technology uses and have no personal experiences as students themselves in technology-infused classrooms (Jacobsen, Clifford, & Friesen, 2002). Further, while it is evident that university and department sponsored trainings are often employed to create a more technology literate faculty, the question remains whether or not these training opportunities are effective. The focus on pedagogy and technology is crucial since instructors have a primary role of preparing graduates who will use technology in their workplaces. According to the International Society for Technology in Education (2000):

Today’s classroom teachers must be prepared to provide technology-supported learning opportunities for their students…being prepared to use technology and knowing how that technology can support student learning must be integral skills in every teacher’s professional repertoire (p. 2).

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