Operational Performance Guidelines for Online Instructors

Operational Performance Guidelines for Online Instructors

Lawrence C. Ragan (The Pennsylvania State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 7
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch229
OnDemand PDF Download:
$30.00
List Price: $37.50

Abstract

Demand for online education continues to grow as technology provides viable methods for the delivery of a wide range of learning experiences. The growth in online education is largely driven by learner demand for flexibility and convenience, and widespread institutional response to meet that demand. According to Online Nation: Five Years of Growth in Online Learning, (Allen and Seaman, 2007), “The number of students taking at least one online course continues to expand at a rate far in excess of the growth of overall higher education enrollments. The most recent estimate, for fall 2006, places this number at 3.48 million online students, an increase of 9.7 percent over the previous year” (p. 5). According to Allen and Seaman (2007), more than two-thirds of all higher education institutions offer online programming, the majority of which expect to see a mean-growth of 30% in enrollments (p. 11).
Chapter Preview
Top

Introduction

Demand for online education continues to grow as technology provides viable methods for the delivery of a wide range of learning experiences. The growth in online education is largely driven by learner demand for flexibility and convenience, and widespread institutional response to meet that demand. According to Online Nation: Five Years of Growth in Online Learning, (Allen and Seaman, 2007), “The number of students taking at least one online course continues to expand at a rate far in excess of the growth of overall higher education enrollments. The most recent estimate, for fall 2006, places this number at 3.48 million online students, an increase of 9.7 percent over the previous year” (p. 5). According to Allen and Seaman (2007), more than two-thirds of all higher education institutions offer online programming, the majority of which expect to see a mean-growth of 30% in enrollments (p. 11).

This growth trajectory of online learning identified in the Online Nation report is accompanied by increasing demand for individuals with the skills and competencies needed to serve as instructors or facilitators in the online environment. Online instructors need to possess or develop a new set of teaching competencies to lead the online learning events to a successful completion (Klein, Spector, Grabowski, & de la Teja, 2004, Varvel, 2007). Although the competencies may differ by delivery environment, they are similar in that they involve the pedagogical, technological and administrative roles of the instructor. Smith (2005) defines 51 competencies necessary for a successful online teaching experience. Smith categorized these competencies into those needed prior to, during and post course delivery.

What have not been well articulated in the literature are the operational performance guidelines that describe specific expectations of instructor engagement and management of the learning experiences. Operational guidelines explicitly address the tasks and duties of the instructor in conducting the course. In the absence of these guidelines, the online instructor is left to rely on experience, trial and error, interpretation of best practices, and student input in order to establish appropriate tasks and duties that support the learning event.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Net Generation: individuals who have grown up with information technology in many aspects of their lives. These individuals have aptitudes, attitudes, expectations, and learning styles that reflect the technology-rich environment in which they were raised.

Learning Management System (LMS): A term used to describe the collection of software tools designed to manage an online educational experience. Generally the LMS refers to a packaged or contained set of instructional tools.

Asynchronous Activity/Communication: Online learning activities occur in a non-synchronous or non-timed format. Examples of asynchronous activities would be bulletin or discussion board postings, and e-mail exchanges.

Synchronous Activity/Communication: Online learning activities occur in the same-chronological time frame. Examples of synchronous activities would be instant messaging, videoconferencing and chat.

Online Learning Environment: an electronic communications-based learning system that enables and supports the interactions between participants necessary to complete an instructional transaction.

Operational Performance Guidelines for the Online Instructor: Refers to the twelve tenets mentioned herein outlining recommended operational behaviors for the online instructor.

Learning Facilitator: An individual responsible for guiding, mentoring and managing a learner to the completion of an educational event.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset