How Can this Program be Adapted for Various Institutions?

How Can this Program be Adapted for Various Institutions?

Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5055-8.ch011
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The acquisition and learning balanced program that has been described in the previous chapters is intended to be a graduate-level degree program for potential instructors. However, this level of change may be an insurmountable amount of preparation, work, and modification for current institutions. Therefore, this chapter discusses the potential adaptations available including, but not limited to, a type of crash course in online pedagogy, a certificate program, a varying elective scale, whichever type of program may be the easiest for an institution to implement. This chapter focuses on not only defining a program but also recognizing the importance of implementing any type of balanced acquisition and learning-based online pedagogy training for new online instructors.
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Our educational culture—a culture based on the campus, the classroom, and on teaching in a time-specific way—has been in place for several hundred years. For the first time in history, new demographic realities and a formidable new culture are challenging the very foundation of the traditional culture. The new culture is based on the power and the dynamic nature of information technology and telecommunications, which, combined, allow us to deliver education anywhere, at any time, to anyone who needs it. In other words, the historical raison d’etre for campuses—the need to aggregate human and physical resources at a single location at a specific time in order to serve the large number of students who could come to that location—has a major competitor. –G.P. Connick, (1997)

As this text has discussed throughout, the current standards for online teacher training are in some cases sufficient, but on a whole, inadequate. This not only causes frustration on behalf of the instructor, but frustration, confusion, and potentially failure for the students in online environments. If the online classroom is not adequately developed, accessible, or appropriate to various learning styles, how can a student in that classroom be expected to succeed? There are a number of ways in which online teacher training could be changed or extended to provide a more holistic training program. However, guidelines such as the ones presented in the previous chapter may prove to be an insurmountable feat for most institutions.

Both the single course design and the master’s level curriculum are designed for mid-sized institutions that already have some web-based courses and the corresponding support services to implement such a program. The reason for this is so that a university looking to adopt a course or program would have the minimal technological capabilities available through the institution to best serve the needs of these potential online students. Additional support services are necessary such as faculty trainers and a resource guide for LMS and online pedagogy questions and problems. The curriculum of such a program is not designed for institutions who are newly integrating web-based coursework into curriculum or who may not have other degree programs already available online. The reason for this is so that institutions that already have some web-based courses will have the support systems available to assist online students and faculty. Likewise, in order for a new course or program to be added to an institution, the accreditation standards typically require that the technological and other support services necessary to serve the program already be established. Therefore, if an institution currently has no online offerings, implementing a degree program in online pedagogy (which should at least partially take place via distance) would not be a suitable decision for the institution, and most likely goes against their regional accreditation standards.

A better idea, then, would be to take the type of information that is mentioned here and understand how it can be adapted to suit the needs, size, and position of a university in terms of their distance education development. Perhaps an institution has already made some significant strides towards developing a certificate program for their instructors before they are allowed to teach online. That is excellent! Now, as this chapter will suggest, that institution could look for additional modifications and extensions of the information that they have already developed. One such example would be to add to the training a specialization in pedagogy or andragogy, depending on the focus of the online instructors. As discussed in earlier chapters, one of the key components to preparing teachers to teach online is increasing and improving teachers’ exposure to online teaching and learning. Teacher education programs need to incorporate technology that teachers will use in the classroom as to familiarize themselves with the technology and pedagogical capabilities (Kent & McNergney, 1999, p.13; Byrum & Cashman, 1993). So perhaps another way to consider the flexibility of the courses would be to offer current instructors some of these concepts for the purposes of professional development in an online format. More of this concept will be discussed throughout Chapter Eleven.

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