Training practices and participation of faculty preparing to teach online in the University System of Georgia: A mixed methods study
This mixed methods sequential explanatory study examined the training practices of faculty who taught online at ten institutions within the University System of Georgia. In the first phase, research questions focused on determining the extent to which faculty participated in various preparation methods, and whether such practices had any relationship to background variables. A web-based, self-developed and validated survey (N=235) was used to collect that data, and yielded a 65.4% response rate. Descriptive statistics, including frequencies, means and standard deviations, were used in the analysis, as were comparisons of means. Most (60.9%) participants reported they were primarily self-prepared in learning about teaching online. Participants spent the most time, on average, in self-preparation (72.74 hours) in self-training, followed by group training (16.27 hours), and learning from peers (14.48 hours). Least used were one-on-one training (6.34 hours), or participation in online courses (6.54 hours).
The second, qualitative phase, further explored the results of the quantitative tests. Participants were selected using the typical response and maximal variation principles, with five from each of two learning approach groups (formally-trained or self-prepared). The case study participants varied widely in their training experiences. Approaches for preparing to teach online were influenced by a variety of factors including convenience of resources, time constraints, existing technical expertise, training content, the need for just-in-time assistance, campus culture and learning styles. Peer mentoring was widespread, and often the first point of contact for participants seeking assistance.
The results of the quantitative and qualitative phases were integrated during the interpretation of the study. The findings were interpreted to mean there was not a one-size-fits-all training model, but that faculty needed training that met their needs for immediate and practical assistance and that provided them for opportunities to interact with colleagues who taught online. The findings also pointed toward the importance of allocating training resources to include the support of self-prepared instructors.
0514: School administration
0745: Higher education
0710: Educational software