Faculty Development for Online Teaching

Faculty Development for Online Teaching

Karen R. Johnson (University of North Texas, USA), Gertrude I. Hewapathirana (Gulf University for Science and Technology, Kuwait) and Mauvalyn M. Bowen (Bethel University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6322-8.ch003
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Despite dramatic increase in online education and the benefits associated with this instructional pedagogy, many challenges exist with the design and delivery of online learning. Faculty play a critical role in the process of quality online education. Yet, development opportunities for faculty are too few, often lacking a comprehensive approach needed for faculty to function optimally in the online learning environment. The interconnection among pedagogy, technology, context, students, faculty, key decision makers, and administrators in higher education complicates the online teaching and learning processes. The purpose of this chapter is to address development issues related to faculty who teach online by embracing training and other critical developmental support needed to ensure success of online education. Various training and development frameworks and models are recommended as ways to prepare and support faculty to teach effectively online.
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Online education is characterized by: 1) the separation of teachers and learners which distinguishes it from face-to-face education; 2) the influence of an educational organization which distinguishes it from self-study and private tutoring; 3) the use of a computer network to present or distribute some educational content, and; 4) the provision of two-way communication via a computer network so that students may benefit from communication with each other, teachers, and staff (Keegan, 1988).

The history of online education has gained momentum since the 1960s with the first computer linked virtual classroom created by the University of Illinois. This experiment enabled students to access learning resources while listening to remotely broadcasted lectures (Smarty, 2010). Since then, the growth of online education in US Colleges has created greater access to higher education, attracting many different types of learner communities. The expansion of the World Wide Web enabled countries around the world to quickly reap the benefit of virtual education as well as access to online information. Within only a short time, large corporations embraced online employee training as a strategic action to slim their training budgets, save traveling cost and time, and minimize the loss of work time as well as software distribution costs (Pappas, 2014).

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