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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Invisible Professor and the Future of Virtual Faculty

Article by Martha C. Sammons and Stephen Ruth, appears in Vol. 4. No. 1. (2007) edition of International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning:

The Sloan Consortium’s latest report, (“Making the Grade: Online Education in the United States 2006”) estimates that 850,000 more students took online courses in fall 2005 than 2004, an increase of almost 40 percent. Although the online teaching continues to grow in popularity, it places greater demands on faculty than traditional courses.
The Sloan report found that this problem exists at all levels of postsecondary education, from doctoral-granting institutions to community colleges. A significant number of full-time professors are thus understandably reluctant to participate in distance learning, and faculty questions about online teaching continue. Traditional professors are disappearing from online classrooms as distance learning has altered their roles and responsibilities, as well as their professional status, job security, workload, rewards, and intellectual freedom.
This article delineates some of the most significant challenges and suggests that distance learning has created new questions about the future of virtual faculty.