Faculty Development Programming: If We Build It, Will They Come?
Educause Quarterly Volume 31, Number 3, ISSN 1528-5324
The number of courses offered online grows every year, resulting in an increasing number of higher education faculty entering a virtual classroom for the first time. It has been well documented that faculty need training and assistance to make the transition from teaching in a traditional face-to-face classroom to teaching online. Faculty professional development related to teaching online varies widely, from suggested readings to mandated training programs. Various combinations of technological and pedagogical skills are needed for faculty to become successful online educators, and lists of recommended competencies abound. Although many institutions have offered online courses for more than a decade and train their faculty to teach online, the research literature reveals that little is known about how best to prepare faculty to teach in an online environment. Designers of faculty development programs typically rely on commonly held assumptions about what faculty need to know--a constant guessing game regarding what topics to cover and what training formats to use. The resulting seminars, workshops, training materials, and other resources are typically hit-or-miss in terms of faculty participation and acceptance. For this purpose, the authors conducted a research study at The Pennsylvania State University to learn more about the professional development experiences and needs of faculty who teach online courses. In particular, the authors wanted to learn more about how the university's online educators obtained the skills and knowledge needed to teach online and what additional resources they believe would support them in their future distance learning efforts. Findings from this study can help guide the design of professional development resources for new and experienced distance education faculty. (Contains 3 tables and 29 endnotes.)
Taylor, A. & McQuiggan, C. (2008). Faculty Development Programming: If We Build It, Will They Come?. Educause Quarterly, 31(3), 28-37.
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