Developing a Teacher Training Program with Acquisition, Learning, and Technological Literacy Skills

Developing a Teacher Training Program with Acquisition, Learning, and Technological Literacy Skills

Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 28
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5055-8.ch010


This text has defined acquisition and learning and identified their role in educational processes. In chapter 10, these terms are applied specifically to online teacher training. Using the information garnered throughout chapters 1 – 9, this chapter provides suggestions regarding potential course offerings for a formalized training program in online pedagogy. In order to be most comprehensive, this chapter begins with the concept of a graduate-level degree program in online pedagogy. Any and all aspects of the potential courses can be modified based on institution, discipline, time or budget constraints, or a different level training program such as a certificate program, which will be discussed in chapter 11.
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“Just go in there and teach the way you have always taught. There isn’t any difference between traditional classroom teaching and teaching at a distance.” This often-repeated statement by poorly informed administrators perpetuates the myth that no additional training is necessary to go from the classroom to the studio. This is exactly what some administrators want to hear. They reason that if there are only minor differences, then instructors don’t need additional training, and this keeps budgets down. This reasoning leads to telecourses that simply shift the same pedagogy currently prominent in traditional college classrooms, the passive lecture, to teleclassrooms. The “talking head” predominates.—T. E. Cyrs (1997)

Many capabilities, including competence with technological literacy, are necessary for success in the online classroom. By extending the definition of acquisition and learning through Krashen and Gee to New Literacy Studies, there is a possibility of achieving a balance in the acquired technological skill and learned pedagogical skill online instructors need to be successful in their classrooms. Although New Literacy Studies focuses on extending traditional reading and writing skills into technological advances, increased competence with technological literacy is a type of New Literacy Study as well. It is possible to further extend the definition of acquisition and learning also. Online teacher training must seek to balance acquisition of technological skill and developing knowledge of online pedagogy in some way in order for instructors to be adequately prepared for their online instruction.

Typically, current training available to online instructors too heavily values the technological aspects of course creation, rather than the instructors’ skill level in teaching online. Online instructors need to have a deep level of understanding and investment in their own training in order to be successful. According to Hackbarth (2000), “Ultimately…outcomes turn on the attitudes and abilities of teachers, for no educational program will succeed if teachers are uninterested or incapable” (p. 13).

Hewett and Ehmann and Powers (2007), some of the leading researchers in training for online education, explain:

those who are teaching online and administering such programs also need orientation and training for their own readiness in the online environment. They need training at the organizational and programmatic levels for more than their technical platform-specific skills development. Of equal if not greater importance, online educators need training for the practical and theoretical transfer of pedagogical principles and practices to online environments. (p. 1)

Although in the past online instructors could make do with the face-to-face (F2F) training that they had received, now is a time when there is enough research on online education theory and practice to fully distinguish itself as a field from F2F education. More specifically, according to Hewett and Ehmann and Powers, “professionals cannot rely solely on methods deemed successful in conventional, brick-and-mortar situations; rather, they need instructional approaches that address distinctive qualities of teaching and learning online” (p. 2). Instructors are generally feeling unsure of themselves in terms of training, pedagogy, as well as if they are actually interested or ready to move to online classes (Ertmer, Ottenbreit-Leftwich, Sadik, Sendurur, & Sendurur, 2012).

Universities can no longer rely on their traditional education programs to meet the needs of potential online instructors. Universities that offer online courses also need to find the most qualified candidates for teaching in their courses: those that have been trained in online pedagogy. There are extensive offerings for certificate programs in online education that serve as a starting ground for understanding all necessary components for an extensive online pedagogy program. This chapter will present information about current certificate programs at some American institutions of higher education related to distance learning and online pedagogy. Then, this chapter will move into the explanation of a teacher training program which employs elements of both acquisition and learning into order to provide instructors a well-rounded overview of online education.

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