Online Educator Burnout

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Avoiding Online Educator Burnout: Solution Focused Pathways for Prevention

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Online Educator Burnout

  1. 1. Avoiding OnlineEducator Burnout: Solution FocusedPathways for Prevention
  2. 2. John D. Moore, Ph.D. Professor of Health Sciences•Full-time faculty member with American Military University since 2002•Instructs courses in health and wellness, including stress reduction•Licensed Mental Health Counselor•Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor•Approved Clinical Supervisor•Doctor of Psychology: Northcentral University•Certificate in Executive Leadership: Cornell University
  3. 3. Objectives of WorkshopPart I: Online Education & Burnout• Overview of current trends in online education• Explore the definition & concept of burnout• The case for a unique specifier• Define Online Educator Burnout (OEB)• Assess unique causal factors of burnout unique to online educators• Examine the “Burnout Bubble”Part II: Burnout Prevention & Amelioration• Review the early earning signs of OEB• Analyze prevention approaches• Examine concrete approaches for amelioration• Create your own plan for wellness
  4. 4. PART I:Online Educators & Burnout 1
  5. 5. Current Trends in Online EducationSome Interesting Facts to Think About . . .• 20% of all higher education students have taken at least one online course according to a 2008 study by Sloan Consortium Study.• 1/3 of all public university faculty had taught an online course according to a Association of Public Land Grant Universities 2009 published study.• 12,000,000 post secondary college students in the United States take some or all of their college classes online according to the research group, Ambient Insight.• 18,000,000 are expected to take online courses by the year 2014 according to the same research group.
  6. 6. More on trends ….
  7. 7. How does the enormous growth occurring in the world of online education impact course instructors? More More students Grading More More More Quality Accountability Teaching Checks More More Time Interaction Online
  8. 8. Points to keep in mind as we define burnout…Stress is normal and quite healthy. It keeps us focused, sharp,engaged, interested & breathing!Distress occurs when our normal ability to manage day-to-daystressors does not meet the level of stress we are experiencing. As aresult of distress, we may experience changes in health, behavior,feel overwhelmed. Distress can be a sign of burnout
  9. 9. So What is Burnout?Burnout is a generic term used to describe as a syndromeconsisting of three symptoms that are related to work.1. Emotional exhaustion2. Depersonalization of others3. Feelings of reduced personal accomplishment- C. Masclach (2003)
  10. 10. More on Burnout …• The first discussion of “burnout” and its symptomology is thought to have first appeared in a 1974 article featured in the Journal of Social Issues by H. Freudenberger• The condition of “burnout” used to be exclusively tied to folks employed in the “helping professions” such as mental health counselors, teachers, police officers, nurses, etc.• Today, burnout has become so widely used and applied in the workplace that any worker who experiences symptoms can claim to be “burned out”.• The media commonly uses the term burnout to describe “stressed out workers”. Being stressed out is not the same as being burned out.
  11. 11. Basically…the generic term “Burnout” Has Become .. Burned Out
  12. 12. The Case for a Unique Specifier for Online Educator Burnout (OEB) OEBThe significance of Future problem Research Unique Burnout Treatment Causal Factors Prevention Related to Online Teaching
  13. 13. Definition of Online Educator BurnoutOnline educator burnout (OEB), also referred to as e-educatorburnout, is a subcategory of burnout that is exclusive to persons whoinstruct or facilitate courses online and present with the three burnoutdimensions as originally identified and described by Maslach andJackson (1986). These three burnout dimensions include:1) Emotional exhaustion, feelings of being emotionally overextended andexhausted by one’s work;2) Depersonalization, an unfeeling of impersonal response towards students;and3) Reduced sense of personal accomplishment, a loss of personal self-efficacy
  14. 14. What’s the difference between Online Educator Burnout & Regular “Teacher Burnout” when it comes to causal factors?Online Educators Must Possess Unique Competencies ThatDiffer From Traditional Teaching Methods (Hogan & McKnight, 2007).• Specialized classroom delivery technology (LMS) knowledge• Ability to create and stimulate e-group discussions• Unique organizational skills used for online teaching• Ability to work asynchronously (class is 24/7)• Strong time management skills• Many if not most e-educators work from homeThe enhancement (and use) of above mentioned skills, coupled withongoing e-classroom training necessarily means that the e-educator beonline regularly – or feel they need to be online constantly. Researchersbelieve this unique dynamic may lead to burnout (Dunlap, 2005).Sources: Hogan, R. L.; McKnight, M. A. (2007). Exploring burnout among university online instructors: An initial investigation. Internetand Higher Education (10), 117-124.Dunlap, J. C. (2005). Workload reduction in online courses: Getting some shuteye. Performance Improvement, 44 (5), 18-26.
  15. 15. Unique Etiologic Factors That May Contribute to OEB• Online course instruction is isolative by nature• Asynchronous course delivery format• Possible role ambiguity for online faculty• Patho-physiologic reasons (i.e. hormones)• The role of computer screen light• Compassion fatigue (depending upon content of course)• Poor boundary setting with home and work responsibilities• Exacerbation of pre-existing medical/psychiatric issues
  16. 16. Moore’s Online Educator BubbleMoore also postulates the existence of a hypothetical burnout bubble (BB) for those involvedwith online education, in which various interpersonal forces act as inflationary agents, causingthe bubble to expand over the course of time. These inflationary agents include:1. Teaching responsibilities2. Family/Personal responsibilities3. Other responsibilities If neglected, the BB has the potential to over inflate and theoretically burst. It should be notedthat this bubble applies to both the online educator and learner.
  17. 17. Moore’s OEB Bubble Teaching Responsibilities Personal/Family ResponsibilitiesThe more inflation of the Otherbubble due to inflationary Responsibilitiesagents, the bigger thebubble becomes until itbursts.

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