The Shifting Roles of Faculty in Digital Teaching and Learning

The Shifting Roles of Faculty in Digital Teaching and Learning

Jonathan Biggane (California State University – Fresno, USA), Arezoo Sadrinezhad (California State University – Fresno, USA), and Robert Steinbauer (Brock University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8476-6.ch001
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Technological advancements continue to shape faculties' pedagogical, social, managerial, and technological roles, making it increasingly difficult to navigate this ever-changing environment. The purpose of this chapter is to shed light on these changes and offer a prescriptive approach for how to thrive in the world of digital teaching and learning. To achieve this objective, the authors first review the evolution of digital technology in teaching and learning and evaluate the consequences of such changes on faculty roles. The authors then discuss common challenges associated with the shifting roles and, most importantly, provide the reader with effective approaches that have been shown to increase student engagement and enhance learning outcomes.
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The role of faculty has changed dramatically over the last several decades with digital teaching and learning playing an ever-increasing part. Nearly one in four students are taking online classes and about six million are utilizing some type of technology-enhanced classroom (Allen, Seaman, Poulin, & Straut, 2016). Therefore, it is critical that faculty be equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary to effectively navigate this new environment. For example, faculty members must now act as instructional designer, technologist, facilitator, teacher, organizer, assessor, mentor, counselor, supervisor, and problem solver (Keengwe & Kid, 2010; Liu, Bonk, Magjuka, Lee, & Su, 2005; Riffee, 2003). While digital technology has enhanced teaching and enriched student learning, it also presents unique challenges and opportunities.

This chapter will identify and describe how faculty members’ roles have changed as a result of digital technology and offer a prescriptive approach for how faculty can thrive in this new environment. In doing so, the authors will first examine the development of technology in the area of digital teaching and learning and discuss the implications of such changes on faculty roles. Next, common challenges associated with digital teaching and learning will be reviewed. Finally, the authors will examine effective approaches to digital teaching and learning that have been shown to increase student engagement and enhance learning outcomes.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Pedagogy: The conceptual and empirical study of education to comprehend how knowledge, skills, and abilities are transferred from educators to learners.

Learning Management Systems: A software package that supports education and training by combining development, management, and delivery of course content into one application.

Faculty Learning Communities: A collaboration of interdisciplinary faculty members who try to enhance teaching and learning over an extended period of time.

Computer-Assisted Learning: Education and training that is supported in various forms by computers.

Netiquette: Combining network and etiquette, netiquette refers to the rules of good behavior in an online environment.

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