All Aboard: The Industrial Technology Department Head’s View of Time-on-Task by Distance Education Faculty
Stanley L. Lightner, University of Nebraska at Kearney, United States ; WC Johnson, Mississippi State University, United States
JITE-Research Volume 2, Number 1, ISSN 1539-3585 Publisher: Informing Science Institute
Many prior studies have addressed student and faculty attitudes toward Distance Education. This study adds to the body of knowledge by considering the administrator’s view within the context of Industrial Technology departments. The attitudes of department heads need to be explored since department heads make budgetary and time allocation decisions that affect the entire departmental regimen, and thus have a direct effect on the success of Distance Education efforts. Distance education as a delivery mode is gaining widespread use in Industrial Technology. Many professionals are encouraged to embrace the new methodology while at the same time, issues such as physical setting, time -on-task, ownership of intellectual property, preparation time, faculty productivity, and traditional vs. nontraditional contact hours have not been conclusively resolved by administrators. The attitudes of Industrial Technology Department Heads are at the vanguard of bringing clarity, continuity and a smooth transition to distance education. Industrial Technology faculty and students will find this article useful in creating a shared vision and development of a sanguine relationship within the Industrial Technology family. Major points include: 1) description of the attitude of Industrial Technology department heads toward distance education; 2) changes portended by the attitudes of department heads ; 3) promotion and tenure issues; 4) commitment of resources; 5) expectations and professionalism; and 6) paradigm shifts. Overall, department heads seem to view distance education as valuable as traditional time -and-place-bound education. However, there appears to be a sizeable minority who question the value of distance education. This is most apparent in questions dealing with the cost of distance education, the value of student projects completed via distance education, and the amount of time faculty must spend on the computer. Over one - third of the department heads studied do not think that there should be any difference in the productivity measures used for traditional and distance education faculty. Given the amount of time necessary to develop distance education courses, this does not bode well for junior faculty working toward promotion and tenure while teaching via distance. Therefore, the movement of Industrial Technology faculty into distance education needs to be carefully planned, and methodically introduced to ensure professionalism through proper consideration of time, compensation, resource allocation, faculty evaluation, and promotion/tenure issues. The attitudes of department heads are of great value in ensuring the proper mesh of expectations, professional responsibility, allocation of resources, scheduling, and securing institutional commitment.
Lightner, S.L. & Johnson, W. (2003). All Aboard: The Industrial Technology Department Head’s View of Time-on-Task by Distance Education Faculty. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 2(1), 407-414. Informing Science Institute.
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