Roles of Online Instructors Apt for Students' Cognitive and Affective learning

Roles of Online Instructors Apt for Students' Cognitive and Affective learning

Ni Chang (Indiana University South Bend, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch743
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Background

The Paradigm Shift

An increasing number of colleges and universities are transferring their face-to-face classroom meetings (hereafter referred to F2F settings) to online learning environments. Roman, Kelsey, and Lin (2010) and Yang and Cornelius (2005) noted online instruction differed distinctively from the traditional F2F instruction. It is inadequate to primarily focus attention on technology in the development of an online course to increase students’ academic growth (Rauscher & Cronje, 2005). It is equally inappropriate to perceive, in terms of online instruction, what have worked in a traditional classroom will certainly work in a virtual learning environment. Teaching and learning in a virtual learning environment is definitely the future trend, as Sun et al. (2008) referred to it as the ‘emerged paradigm of modern education’ (in Hernández, Gorjup, & Cascón, 2010, p. 168). Hence, in the paradigm shift, there is a need to understand roles that online instructors play in a virtual learning environment (Dennen, Darabi, & Smith, 2007).

Hernandez et al.’s (2010) study focused on the roles an instructor played in both e- and traditional learning environments. The researchers performed a comparative analysis of students’ perceptions with 33 participants involved in a F2F traditional teaching while 23 students engaged in an online environment. Both of the groups taught by the same instructor. Hernandez et al. (2010) found there were various students’ perceptions regarding the roles that the instructor played in the F2F and online contexts. Generally, F2F group valued the instructor’s role in the learning process more highly than the online group. The findings suggest online instructors ought to make additional efforts in order to better facilitate student learning.

Morrison (2012) reported that students of distance education classes performed poorly and some were even not able to complete online courses. Furthermore, there seems to have higher dropout rates within online courses than F2F settings (Morrison, 2012; Rauscher & Cronje, 2005). Therefore, it is certainly useful to address roles that e-instructors play in an online learning context in order to help online instructors, who can in turn help online students.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Pedagogical Efficacy: Refers to the growth and development of both faculty and students concerning academics-oriented knowledge and skills ranging from content-specific areas to technological skills through efforts exerted by an e-instructor.

Knowledge Building: Refers to an e-instructor, who keeps professionally up-to-date through self-development and learning alongside students and who attains technological knowledge and skills by attending relevant workshops and the frequent interaction with a computer.

Reflective Practice: Refers to an e-instructor’s consistent behaviors in assessing the course by an ongoing, even daily, basis as well as at the end of a semester in order to motivate learners to succeed in learning.

Purposeful Commitment: Refers to an e-instructor who is committed to helping students become owners of their own learning by the instructor becoming visible through various means in the shared virtual classroom in order to support learning.

Purposeful Organization: Refers to an e-instructor who is committed to helping students become owners of their own learning, achieved when the instructor becomes visible through various means in the virtual classroom.

Meaningful Management: Refers to an e-instructor who manages a course in ways that may help ease students’ unnecessary frustration resulting from their being situated in a novel learning environment. This type of course management aims to promote students’ affective learning in the virtual classroom.

Affective Promotion: Encompasses endeavors and strategies made by an e-instructor in fostering students’ emotional involvement in e-learning and in setting up an emotionally supportive learning environment to facilitate student learning.

Instructional Preparation: Is related to avenues in which an e-instructor is engaged to make decisions based on information at hand as well as collected through previous experiences of working with students in order to help plan instruction suited to learners’ needs.

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