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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Online Ed Skepticism and Self-Sufficiency: Survey of Faculty Views on Technology

"Inside Higher Ed's survey finds professors are skeptical that online courses can produce outcomes equivalent to those of face-to-face classes, let alone surpass them." according to Inside Higher Ed.
Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology

The massive open online course craze may have subsided, but the debate about the role of online courses in higher education persists. Even as more faculty members experiment with online education, they continue to fear that the record-high number of students taking those classes are receiving an inferior experience to what can be delivered in the classroom, Inside Higher Ed’s new Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology suggests.

Gallup surveyed 2,799 faculty members and 288 academic technology administrators this August and September on issues identified by Inside Higher Ed. A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

Highlights include:
  • Virtually all faculty members and technology administrators say meaningful student-teacher interaction is a hallmark of a quality online education, and that it is missing from most online courses.
  • A majority of faculty members with online teaching experience still say those courses produce results inferior to in-person courses.
  • Faculty members are overwhelmingly opposed to their institutions hiring outside "enablers" to manage any part of online course operation, even for marketing purposes. Humanities instructors are most likely to say they have benefited from the digital humanities -- but also that those digital techniques have been oversold.
Only about one-quarter of faculty respondents (26 percent) say online courses can produce results equal to in-person courses. While that represents a slight increase from last year’s survey, when only one in five said so, that top-line number fails to communicate that most faculty members maintain serious doubts about being able to interact or indeed teach students in online courses. 

The doubt extends across age groups and most academic disciplines. Tenured faculty members may be the most critical of online courses, with an outright majority (52 percent) saying online courses produce results inferior to in-person courses, but that does not necessarily mean opposition rises steadily with age. Faculty respondents younger than 40, for example, are more critical of online courses (38 percent) than are those between the ages of 50 and 59 (34 percent).
Read more... 

Additional resources

On Nov. 18, Inside Higher Ed's Scott Jaschik and Carl Straumsheim will conduct a free webinar analyzing the survey's findings and answering readers' questions. 
To register for the webinar, please click here.

Source: Inside Higher Ed