Old Dogs, New Tricks: Self Study of Online Instruction

Old Dogs, New Tricks: Self Study of Online Instruction

Nancy P. Gallavan (University of Central Arkansas, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-111-9.ch017


Gallavan’s Critical Components and Multiple Contexts of Self Assessment Model provides the structure for monitoring one’s instructional efficacy coupled with guidelines for monitoring growth and pursuing appropriate professional development. Through the action research methodology of self study, the author conducted an extensive self assessment of her self efficacy as a seasoned teacher educator (one of many old dogs) analyzing her change processes as she expanded her repertoire to include online instruction (the new tricks). Reporting her findings based on the author’s emerging MIND over Matter framework, the outcomes of this study provide useful implications for the author and all instructors engaged in both face-to-face and online instruction.
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“Old Dogs:” A Self-Study Investigating My Experiences With Online Instruction

Online instruction in higher education began quietly at isolated institutions scattered across the U.S. during the mid-1990s. Within ten years, most institutions of higher education were offering some courses via online instruction, and today it is one of the most popular and fastest growing student services available at colleges and universities (Allen & Seamon, 2007, 2008). Concomitantly, online instruction is increasing in academic acceptance by instructors as an equally viable form of education in preparing students for graduate programs and professional careers at institutions that are fully engaged with distance education (Allen & Seamon, 2007, 2008). Even teacher educators who adhere to the adage that “teachers of teachers should model the models” through historically traditional face-to-face instruction are overcoming their apprehension and resistance by offering online instruction (Kirtman, 2009; Sobel, Iceman-Sands & Dunlap, 2009).

Like many other seasoned teacher educators in higher education, I observed the arrival of online instruction as a potential option experiencing both captivation and caution. Having encountered many changes throughout my career that have impacted my instruction, the advent of online instruction prompted me to question the essential elements of education and their relationships to my self efficacy. My immediate concerns focused on the quality of online instruction (Bourne & Moore, 2004) related to my teaching, the students’ learning, the specific courses within our programs, and the mission of becoming a teacher (Tallent-Runnels, Thomas, Cooper, et al., 2006).

This chapter documents my 15-year progression with online instruction through the methodology of self study. My experiences are chronicled following Gallavan’s Critical Components and Multiple Contexts of Self Assessment Model and reported as four distinct phases of my progression. The findings of this study result in the emerging formulation of the MIND over Matter framework applicable to individuals involved with all aspects of face-to-face and/or online instruction.

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