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UNC TLT 2006


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  • 1. A Shared Vision: Faculty Perceptions of Managing Expectations in the Online Environment Sophia J. Stone Diane D. Chapman North Carolina State University
  • 2. Managing Expectations• Expectation: anticipation of something happening: a confident belief or strong hope that a particular event will happen• In the online environment, student/faculty expectations are challenged and sometimes difficult to meet…..
  • 3. Challenges--communication--instructor-student feedback--technology--student support needs--instructor presence--personal approach to learning
  • 4. Understanding ExpectationsOutcomes:• fosters reassurance• builds trust• a climate of shared understanding between instructor and student• enhances student learning satisfaction• decreases student feelings of isolation and alienation
  • 5. PurposeTo discover faculty perceptions of thedisconnects between student and instructorexpectations in online courses and the issuesand concerns surrounding this gapInterviews conducted Spring 2005 as part ofprogram evaluation of T&D online M.Ed.Program
  • 6. Interview Questions• Q1: How should student and instructor expectations be managed in our online program?• Q2: How should instructors in T&D online courses manage faculty-student interaction?• Q3: What advice would you give other instructors in managing student feedback and communication in T&D online courses?
  • 7. Methodology• 1 hr semi-structured interview with faculty who teach in T&D online program• 5 faculty interviewed• Data collection: interviews, document analysis
  • 8. Limitations• faculty perceptions• sample size and selection – purposeful sample – time constraints• demographic limitations – class size – graduate online students only
  • 9. Results of the Interviews: Q1Q1: How should student and instructor expectations be managed in our online program?Faculty note 4 areas of concern: – communication (24 hour professor) – course – technology – environmental
  • 10. Results of the Interviews: Q1• Communication expectations established at outset (consistent and negotiated)• Course expectations set during orientation• Technology (expect glitches, strive for consistency in usage)• Environmental (develop unique opportunities for student interaction)
  • 11. Results of the Interviews: Q2Q2: How should instructors in T&D online courses manage faculty-student interaction?Faculty note 3 areas of concern: – Feedback – Communication – Relationship building
  • 12. Results of the Interviews: Q2Feedback• Set clear expectations for turnaround time• Establish types of feedback (acknowledgement, content, automated)• Distinguish variety and level of faculty interactions• Manage perceptions of legitimate feedback
  • 13. Results of the Interviews: Q2Communication• Open forum for general questions• Keep negative, sensitive issues privateRelationship building• Instructor-student relationship (a faculty responsibility)• Build positive attributes of relationship up front• Establish “bank account” of good feelings
  • 14. Results of the Interviews: Q3Q3: What advice would you give other instructors in managing student feedback and communication in T&D online courses?Faculty note 4 areas of concern: – Student support – Collective expertise – Online persona – Email management
  • 15. Results of the Interviews: Q3Student support• Experiment but never compromise quality of education• Instructor-student interaction: expectations are not comparable to F2F, they are heightenedCollective expertise• Use of group leaders• Promote students to help one another• Interaction should not just be content centered
  • 16. Results of the Interviews: Q3Online persona – Immediacy behaviors – Visible support role – Facilitator of learningEmail management – Established feedback guidelines – Intentional responses – Separate your online course email – 48 hour turnaround – Bundle responses – Let students know when you’ll be out of touch
  • 17. Concluding Thoughts• Need shared understanding of eachother’s roles• Manage expectations before course begins• Establish patterns of individualized feedback to students and maintain consistency in level of interaction• Online persona continues to be a challenge for faculty• Balance students’ needs for independence and connection• Remind students that faculty react to the course in a number of legitimate ways• Manage the human-technology interface