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Overcoming faculty resistance to on-line education

Overcoming faculty resistance to on-line education

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  • 1. Face-to-Face to On-lineAddressing the Concerns of the Faculty
    Michael Oudshoorn
    Department of Computer Science
    Montclair State University
  • 2. Outline
    About me – background introducing on-line courses
    Why introduce on-line courses?
    Why the resistance?
    Why the acceptance?
    Addressing the concerns
    Making it work
    Conclusions
    Discussion
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    2
  • 3. About Me
    PhD in Computer Science – naturally pre-disposed to using technology.
    Served as an Associate Professor and Associate Dean (International) at the University of Adelaide, Australia (1984-2003).
    Pressure to increase tuition revenue from international sources.
    University highly ranked and very protective if its envious international reputation.
    University against on-line teaching because it was concerned about quality.
    Publically stated that students should experience the University of Adelaide in order to get a University of Adelaide degree.
    Either spend at least 1 year on the campus, or
    Spend at least 1 year exposed to University of Adelaide faculty.
    Several international programs: twinning, articulation, degree completion. All satisfied the 2 requirements above.
    The University of Adelaide is only recently started to consider on-line education in a very limited way – no subjects from computer science.
    An example of institutional resistance.
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    3
  • 4. About Me
    Served as Professor and Head of Computer Science at Montana State University (2003-07).
    Started dual degree programs with Istanbul Technical University.
    Started PhD program with Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco.
    Faculty had little interest in on-line teaching.
    In fact, senior faculty actively opposed any on-line courses.
    University did not identify it as a priority. More interested in increasing diversity on campus through international students and Native American students.
    Montana State University has very few course available on-line – only one from Computer Science and it is not an introductory class so it is available to very few students.
    An example of faculty-wide resistance within a department.
    Little encouragement from university administration.
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    4
  • 5. About Me
    Served as Dean of the College of Science, Mathematics and Technology and as professor of Computer Science at the University of Texas at Brownsville (2007-10).
    Catchment area for students was limited and bounded by other institutions to the north and west, to the south by the Mexican border, and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico.
    Many courses taught face-to-face and on-line.
    Faculty were concerned by low enrolments and administrative pressure to increase tuition revenue.
    On-line perceived as a mechanism to reach more students in a wider geographical area.
    Participated in the University of Texas virtual campus making courses available across the State of Texas and beyond.
    An example of acceptance and engagement with on-line education.
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    5
  • 6. About Me
    Serving as Professor and Chair of Computer Science at Montclair State University.
    Growing on-line presence on campus.
    MS in Computer Science will go on-line from Fall 2012.
    Faculty buy-in took a year to achieve.
    Support in the way of instructional designers is available.
    Unfortunately, minimal standardization in technology for delivery.
    An example of an institution in transition.
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    6
  • 7. Why Was This Background Necessary?
    Our background and experiences shapes our attitudes, actions and willingness to try new things.
    All of the faculty and administrators have different backgrounds and, therefore, attitudes.
    This background will help you understand (and appreciate?) my interest in, and attitude toward, on-line education.
    Faculty attitudes can result in impediments to introducing on-line courses and programs, or in implementing them successfully.
    Take time to explain your motivation and listen to the concerns raised by colleagues. Think about their experiences and backgrounds as a means to understand their attitudes.
    Many factors contribute to our desire to participate in, or resist, on-line education.
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    7
  • 8. Preamble
    Every institution is different
    Every department is different
    Every discipline is different
    Every faculty member is different
    Every department chair is different
    We share common issues
    We share common concerns
    We share common pressures
    We share a common concern for the students and the quality of our programs.
    This talk describes the presenters experiences, thoughts and biases. Application of what is discussed should be tailored for your unique circumstances.
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    8
  • 9. Why Introduce On-Line Courses?
    There are many reasons that may drive the introduction of on-line courses. Some are:
    Fiscal concerns – generate revenue/tuition
    Enrolment concerns (70% of programs are cut because of low enrolments)
    It is the right thing to do
    Everyone else is doing it
    It is what the students want
    It is what the institution wants
    Need to remain relevant
    Increase our reach – recruit from a wider geographical area
    Increase our visibility/profile
    Increase flexibility for students and faculty
    On-line education has come of age
    Technology support has improved sufficiently
    Reduce costs and increase productivity
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    9
  • 10. Why Introduce On-line Courses?
    Many of these reasons reflect an impediment being overcome.
    Some reflect the need to generate more students and more revenue.
    Some reflect a genuine belief that on-line education is legitimate, high quality, and relevant.
    Whatever the motivation, be clear, open and transparent in discussions with faculty.
    Also be prepared for resistance…
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    10
  • 11. Why the Resistance?
    Not everyone is at the same point you are in accepting on-line education.
    Fiscal concerns, enrolment numbers, and administrative pressure have little real effect on faculty (unless they believe it will negatively impact on them personally).
    Faculty jealously try to protect their workload
    On-line courses are often seen as more work.
    Faculty like to protect their research time
    more students = more teaching
    Don’t want to learn new technology
    Like interacting personally with students
    My subject can’t be done on-line
    The (unfounded) belief that on-line courses are lesser quality
    The (unfounded) belief that group work can’t be done on-line
    On-line teaching is perceived as more difficult
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    11
  • 12. Why the Acceptance?
    Not everyone resists on-line education.
    Why do they accept/embrace it?
    Like the flexibility.
    Have previous positive experience with it as either instructor or student.
    Have observed someone take an on-line course (their child, for example).
    Are current in the education literature and aware of the benefits and drawbacks
    Recognize that on-line education is now mainstream.
    Understand and appreciate the pressures on departments to generate revenue and offer high-quality students to a wider audience.
    Awareness of the political landscape in the State and on the campus.
    Looking forward to the challenge.
    Think that poor instruction will be more difficult to detect (no classroom observations). Not all the reasons are positive.
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    12
  • 13. Addressing the concerns
    Let’s examine the various potential impediments to the introduction of on-line courses and programs and how they might be addressed.
    Remember, what works in one department may not work in another department because of the different departmental culture and dynamics, and different faculty experiences/attitudes.
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    13
  • 14. Individual Versus En-masse Concerns
    Faculty can resist individual or as a whole.
    Often, whole of faculty resistance to on-line education is because of a small number of strong individuals resisting. If you get them on board, the others often follow.
    When faced with mass resistance, ask if it is the right time to pursue on-line programs? Resistance often equates to poor engagement of faculty if it is forced on them.
    Individual faculty members may have their own reasons for resisting participation.
    There are also general reasons why individual faculty members may resist:
    Resistance to change – It will kill the face-to-face program
    Apathy – Technology
    Workload – Student interaction
    Quality concerns – Teaching style
    Intellectual property – Reward for development and design
    Academic integrity – Tenure and promotion impact
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    14
  • 15. Resistance to Change
    Probably the most likely “group” resistance.
    Arguments include:
    We have never done it that way before
    Why change what works?
    What if it doesn’t work?
    If it isn’t broken, why fix it?
    Face-to-face teaching is best
    Faculty, for some reason, are naturally resistant to change.
    Need to convince faculty that change is necessary/desirable.
    Provide data that can’t be challenged
    Current situation and trends from past few years
    Documentation about future needs of students
    Evidence of what the competitors have done
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    15
  • 16. Resistance to Change
    External drivers for change often help.
    Dean, Provost, President etc encouraging change and providing reasons for why it helps the institution and department.
    Carrots work better than sticks, although sometimes a stick is handy.
    Overcoming resistance to change takes time.
    Change is generally accepted if it is minimal and slow.
    Moving toward an on-line program is seen as radical and rapid change.
    Plant the seeds for on-line education and work with select individuals to slowly change the perception of the faculty as a whole.
    Need to create a culture of change
    Need risk management plan and clear goals: how do you know if you have been successful?
    Many faculty are goal oriented
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    16
  • 17. Apathy
    There may be many reasons for apathy amongst the faculty:
    Proximity to retirement.
    I’m happy doing what I have been doing for a long time.
    Let the younger faculty do the work
    I am more interested in my research than teaching
    It isn’t going to affect my tenure or promotion application
    Appears more prevalent in older faculty.
    Younger faculty tend to be more accepting of on-line education.
    Closer to the millennial generation with video games, E-mail, social networking sites, twitter, …
    Need to motivate faculty to get engaged.
    Clearly and consistently explain the rationale for pursuing on-line programs. Have the data readily available to support your claims.
    Seek help/support from dean and provost – subtle pressure may help
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    17
  • 18. Apathy
    Can you move forward with your plans if a small number of faculty do not participate in on-line education?
    Once they see how it works, they may want to participate later.
    Don’t force participation. Faculty won’t suddenly be more interested simply because they have to do it.
    Increases friction
    Increases resentment
    Encourage participation.
    There are roles other than teaching: quality assurance, mentoring younger faculty, …
    Don’t rule out participation at a later date.
    Offer incentives if possible.
    Make strategic hires in future – faculty with on-line experience or interest. Build a support base.
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    18
  • 19. Technology
    Faculty may fear the technology or be unwilling to learn new technology.
    Does the campus have a standard platform for delivery of on-line classes?
    Does the campus offer support for students and faculty with respect to the technology used?
    Make sure funds are available to acquire the technology needed;
    Webcams, screen capture, video creation, collaboration software, …
    Make sure that students have access to all the technology they need and the tools to use it properly.
    Servers needed?
    Software licenses
    24/7 technology help.
    Some of this is institutional responsibility as opposed to departmental responsibility.
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    19
  • 20. Technology
    Provide training for faculty.
    The technology will help in face-to-face delivery as well as on-line delivery.
    Get the technology in place well in advance of starting the on-line program. Give faculty time to get used to it.
    Faculty like stability – work with the campus community to determine standard platforms for on-line delivery.
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    20
  • 21. Workload
    Perception that on-line education is more work than face-to-face classes.
    The work is different.
    There may be more preparatory work, or work associated with the first delivery of a class. Hopefully this cost can be recovered in second and subsequent offerings.
    Ensure that faculty who invest time to develop on-line materials “own” that course for a number of years to “recover” their investment.
    Perception that on-line education is more difficult than face-to-face classes.
    The work is different.
    Can’t just do what you have done for the past 10 years.
    One hopes that faculty are interested in excellence and relevance of education and pedagogy.
    There is a learning curve to become familiar with technology and on-line techniques. Part of being an educator!
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    21
  • 22. Workload
    Perception that you have to be available 24/7 to address on-line student questions.
    Faculty should set boundaries.
    Determine virtual office hours. Times you are available via Skype, deal with E-mail, etc.
    Resist the temptation to quickly answer a student at 3am. They will expect it in the future.
    Faculty need to exercise some discipline.
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    22
  • 23. Student Interaction
    Some faculty believe asynchronous communication with students is inferior and that on-line education is correspondence education.
    Student interaction should not be inferior!
    Need to engage the students
    Use the tools they are familiar with: twitter, blogs, wikis, …
    You do not need to be in the middle of every on-line conversation. Let your students demonstrate their expertise and provide useful contributions.
    Some students are more comfortable with on-line discussions than face-to-face discussions.
    Group work is possible
    Humanize the content buy focusing on the students rather than the method of delivery.
    Technology should always support learning goals and the students.
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    23
  • 24. Student Interaction
    Students take courses on-line in preference to face-to-face because it suits them better.
    Flexibility in time
    Style of delivery
    Faculty are used to face-to-face delivery and synchronous communication.
    Use video messages
    Use E-mail
    Make handouts more explicit – anticipate questions and answer them in the assignment instructions
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    24
  • 25. Quality Concerns
    Perception that on-line education is lower quality than face-to-face education.
    I learned face-to-face and that is clearly the best model.
    This also demonstrates that a poor reputation takes a long time to overcome!
    Many prestigious institutions offer courses on-line. Are these institutions or these courses suddenly poor quality?
    Quality is in the control of the instructor!
    Understand the student’s needs and understand the tools available and use them appropriately.
    Set engaging and relevant assignments.
    Students are different now to what they were 20 years ago, even 10 years ago. They are much more technologically savvy,used to multitasking, comfortable with electronic communication.
    Time for faculty to adapt and catch up!
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    25
  • 26. Teaching Style
    Faculty are used to teaching face-to-face and are concerned that on-line education requires a change in what they regard as an otherwise successful formula.
    Asynchronous delivery does require a change in style!
    Discussion and student engagement is still possible, but needs to be done differently: Blackboard, discussion groups, E-mail, wikis, …
    Technology needs to be used.
    Focus on the content and the student rather than the delivery mode
    Need to deliver material in short segments (5-15 minutes) rather than 50-75 minute orations.
    Training should be available to faculty
    Technical support should be provided by the institution
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    26
  • 27. Academic Integrity
    Faculty are concerned with academic integrity especially with respect to exams.
    How do you know the right student sat the exam if is taken on-line?
    How do you know they did not use books and other materials during the exam?
    Generally it is accepted that if a student logs into Blackboard, for example, then they have authenticated themselves and it is assumed that they are the student taking the exam.
    How do you know that the right student takes the exam if you have a face-to-face class of 100+ students?
    Use tools to detect plagiarism
    TurnItIn, SafeAssign, …
    Establish a code of conduct and clear consequences for academic misconduct
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    27
  • 28. Academic Integrity
    If you really do not want an open book exam, can force students to go to a testing center or have the exam proctored.
    Faculty need to understand and accept the differences between on-line and face-to-face.
    Adapt without sacrificing academic integrity
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    28
  • 29. Intellectual Property
    Who owns the intellectual property?
    This is an institutional issue.
    Same question exists for courses delivered face-to-face.
    Difficult to argue that the faculty member owns the IP exclusively when instructional designers etc may have helped in the content development.
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    29
  • 30. Reward
    What’s in it for me? Why should I go through the effort of offering a course on-line?
    Reward desirable behavior (when appropriate and possible)
    1 credit additional recognition for developing an on-line course
    Recognizes the extra work involved the first time the course is delivered on-line.
    Better to reward desired behavior rather than punish resistance
    Positive reinforcement helps build support for on-line programs.
    Sometimes reality of serious negative consequences (e.g., closure of program) is sufficient to get faculty buy-in, but insufficient to ensure quality delivery.
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    30
  • 31. Tenure and Promotion Impact
    Tenure and promotion guidelines do not recognize on-line education as different to face-to-face delivery.
    Work with administration to decide how on-line courses will be evaluated and count toward tenure and promotion.
    Faculty like well defined rules that govern their future
    Most impact on younger and newly appointed faculty
    These are the ones most likely to support on-line education
    No impact of established full-professors
    Encourage the senior faculty to take the lead in on-line education
    Older faculty likely to resist for other reasons
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
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  • 32. Can’t Do “X” On-Line
    Often accompanies other reasons for resistance
    Often lots of counter examples that show it can be done
    Faculty need to be creative and use the technology to advantage.
    Is sometimes a legitimate issue
    Would you want brain surgery from a surgeon who only learned his skills through an on-line course?
    Sometimes are difficult, but not impossible.
    Technology is constantly getting better. Virtual dissections etc. Fine for a biology class maybe, but not for a surgical class?
    Just because students have always done “X” in a face-to-face class, does that mean it is the best thing to do.
    Opportunity to assess what we do and why
    Often regarded as a “cop out” excuse by supporters of on-line education
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
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  • 33. It Will Kill the Face-to-Face Program
    Data shows that there are students who prefer face-to-face and those that prefer on-line education.
    If you don’t offer on-line courses now, chances are you are predominantly getting students who would prefer face-to-face classes.
    Offering on-line classes should attract a new group of students to the program.
    These students are, in all likelihood, taking on-line classes elsewhere right now.
    On-line courses represent an opportunity
    Increased student numbers
    Increased revenue stream
    This is why administration often encourages the development of on-line programs.
    On-line education should complement face-to-face delivery, not compete with it.
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    33
  • 34. Making it Work
    Offer faculty development opportunities to prepare them for on-line delivery.
    Encourage sharing of successful and unsuccessful approaches.
    Understanding what does not work for your department/discipline/faculty/students is just as important as understanding what does.
    Don’t punish failure (at least not initially).
    Develop tools for evaluating on-line courses and teaching
    Faculty evaluations for on-line courses are generally lower than evaluations of face-to-face courses.
    Mentor faculty
    Solicit student feedback early and often
    Provide the necessary tools: hardware, software, support, guidelines, training
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    34
  • 35. Making it Work
    If faculty really don’t want to teach on-line, don’t use them in that capacity – it won’t be good for anyone!
    Good teaching transcends course format.
    Maintain a strong focus on quality. Your reputation is important.
    Make employers aware that the quality matches your traditional offerings.
    Engage the students in the courses being offered.
    Listen to what the students want, and why.
    Reward faculty for participation – incentives
    Consider impact on accreditation of programs
    Put quality assurance processes in place to ensure a quality product
    Plan, plan, plan
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    35
  • 36. Conclusion
    On-line education is now mainstream
    On-line education is not for everyone
    Understand your motivation for on-line education, and your colleagues attitude toward it
    Understand the political and educational environment in which you work
    Be flexible – your way is not necessarily the right way or the only way.
    Compromise can lead to increased buy-in from those that might otherwise oppose it
    Make sure you have the resources to be successful
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    36
  • 37. Discussion
    Michael Oudshoorn (6/3/2011)
    37