Evidence of Faculty Participation in Online Classrooms
Prof. Anita Seugnet Blignaut, Stanley R Trollip.
Throughout academia, more and more instructors are in the position of spending some or all of their time in an electronic classroom. As would be expected, there are a number of different models for online teaching, ranging from the instructor being at the center of activities or the “sage-on-the-stage,” to the instructor being a facilitator or “guide-on-the-side”. Regardless of which metaphor is embraced, various authors affirm the importance of the instructor’s role by providing evidence that effective instructors are the most influential factor in any learning situation, often to the extent that they are able to turn poorly designed lessons into successful experiences for learners. Whatever the style of online approach, many instructors are unclear or uncertain of their role in the electronic classroom, and many feel less important because they are no longer at the focus of learners’ attention. In addition, most online instructors find that the amount of time they spend is far greater than anticipated and feel that they are inadequately compensated. On the other hand, administrators often bear the brunt of learner complaints, which may be more frequent in the online world because instructor performance, or at least lack of it, may be magnified or more obvious. Certainly, there is evidence that the time demands on online instructors can have detrimental effects on online class interaction.
As a step towards better understanding this tension between the expectations placed on online instructors, usually by administrators, and the amount of time needed to meet them, this exploratory investigation reports on:
- The scope of faculty participation in online discussions in thirteen online courses;
- The extent to which faculty meet suggested expectations for participation in online discussions;
- An estimate of the time online instructors spend in online discussions;
- The extent to which learners contribute to online discussions and how they measure-up to the expectations set for their online discussion participation; and
- Learner satisfaction with online courses.
Prof. Anita Seugnet Blignaut (South Africa)
Associate Professor in e-learning
Section e-Learning Department of Curriculum Studies Faculty of Education
University of Pretoria
Stanley R Trollip (United States)
(30 min. Conference Paper, English)