Perception Differences About Participating in Distance Education


 

Catherine Schifter,
Associate Professor,
College of Education,
Temple University,
Philadelphia, PA. 
catherine.schifter@temple.edu


Abstract
 
Non-traditional distance education is increasingly common in higher education.  While many distance programs are separated into continuing education or adult education programs, infusion of distance education courses as options for traditional higher education students is beginning to take hold. (U.S. Department of Education, 1999, HERI, 1999)  For this to be successful, faculty of the institution need to be part of the process, specifically in developing and teaching the courses.
 
The pedagogy of the faculty member in a distance education course changes from a teacher-centered approach to being student-centered (Strain, 1987; Beaudoin, 1990; 1998; Berge, 1998).  In addition, "unbundling" of the faculty role is more and more recommended for distance education. (Paulson, 2002), but this is difficult for many faculty who are concerned about who then owns the course or copyright.  Carnevale (2001) notes in a report in the Chronicle of Higher Education a recent AFT report that indicates concern over the practice of "unbundling" the traditional role of the professor by online courses creators.  Unfortunately, research has indicated many faculty are not enthusiastic about participating in distance education (Olcott and Wright, 1995).  Issues that have been noted as barriers to faculty participation include insufficient training, lack of applicability toward promotion and tenure, lack of release time, insufficient instructional and administrative support, minimal monetary compensation, and an expanded teaching load (Clark, 1993; Dillon and Walsh, 1992; Koontz, 1989; Olcott, 1991; 1992; 1993; Wagner and Elms, 1993; and Wolcott, 1993).  Bower (2001) notes that for some faculty who teach distance courses the lack of direct interpersonal contact and feedback from students is a problem, given the fact that most faculty learn to teach face-to-face, or "hand-to-hand." (p. 2)  Do these factors remain?
 
Taylor and White (1987), McKenzie (2000), and Seay, Rudolph and Chamberlain (2001) reported faculty preferred conventional face-to-face courses over distance teaching due to the degree of interpersonal contact available in each mode.  Less interaction with the students led to less interest on the part of faculty to participate.  Clark (1993) showed through a national survey that faculty support for distance courses was tempered by concern for quality of interaction, administrative support, and rewards.  Betts (1998) demonstrated that the strongest motivating factors for faculty who participate in distance education are different from perceptions held by non-participating faculty and administrators of motivating factors for faculty participating.  One question that does not seem to have received attention is whether there are differences in faculty attitudes by gender, age, faculty rank, and tenure status.
 
Faculty (distance education participators and non-participators) and administrators at a research extensive, state-related university were surveyed about (1) faculty use of technology in teaching, (2) motivating and inhibiting factors for participating in distance education, and (3) understanding of policies on distance education.  This paper presents a factor analysis of the 46 motivating and inhibiting factors for distance education participation and an analysis of interaction between responses and level of participation in distance education, gender, age, faculty rank and tenure status.
 
 

Methods

With permission from the author (Betts, 1998), this study used a modified version of a survey developed to identify factors that influence faculty participation in distance education (Betts, 1998).  Minor modifications were made to address the institution for this study.  The survey was distributed in to all full-time faculty and twenty-five senior administrators, including all deans.  After accounting for faculty on leave (paid or unpaid) from the university, the target faculty population totaled 1312.  A total of 263 completed and usable surveys were returned for a response rate of 20%, which could limit the external validity of the results.  A total of eleven administrators returned the survey for a 44% response rate; however, only nine completed the sections on motivating and inhibiting factors.
 
The data was analyzed using the SPSS Statistical Package.  First, the 29 motivating (Table 1) and 17 inhibiting (Table 2) factors were ranked according to mean scores and a factor analysis was used on all 46 factors to see how they grouped.  An analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted on mean factor scores to determine significant differences by level of participation, gender, age range, faculty rank and tenure status.  Four independent Chi-square analyses were run to test the null hypothesis that there was no relationship between level of participation and gender, age range, faculty rank or tenure status.
 
Table 1: Motivating Factor List
 

1                 Personal motivation to use technology
2                 Graduate training received
3                 Opportunity for scholarly pursuit
4                 Reduced teaching load
5                 Opportunity to use personal research as a teaching tool
6                 Requirement by department
7                 Support and encouragement from dean or chair
8                 Working conditions (e.g., hours, location)
9                 Job security
10              Monetary support for participation (e.g., stipend, overload)
11              Expectation by university that faculty participate
12              Opportunity to develop new ideas
13              Visibility for jobs at other institutions/organizations
14              Professional prestige and status
15              Grants for materials/expenses
16              Support and encouragement from departmental colleagues
17              Intellectual challenge
18              Overall job satisfaction
19              Technical support provided by the institution
20              Career exploration
21              Credit toward promotion and tenure
22              Release time
23              Distance education training provided by the institution
24              Merit pay
25              Greater course flexibility for students
26              Opportunity to diversify program offerings
27              Ability to reach new audiences that cannot attend classes on campus
28              Opportunity to improve my teaching
29              Support and encouragement from institutional administrators
 
 

Table 2: Inhibiting Factor List
 

1                 Concern about faculty workload
2                 Negative comments made by colleagues about distance education teaching experiences
3                 Lack of distance education training provided by the institution
4                 Lack of support and encouragement from departmental colleagues
5                 Lack of release time
6                 Lack of professional prestige
7                 Lack of technical background
8                 Lack of support and encouragement from dean or chair
9                 Lack of grants for materials/expenses
10              Concern about quality of courses
11              Lack of technical support provided by the institution
12              Lack of merit pay
13              Lack of support and encouragement from institution administrators
14              Lack of monetary support for participation (e.g., stipend, overload)
15              Concern about quality of students
16              Lack of salary increase
17              Lack of credit toward promotion and tenure
 
 

Results

 Table 3 presents the demographic data about the respondents.  While the survey was sent to full-time faculty, two respondents were part-time faculty and one person did not answer this item. Thirty-eight (14.4%) faculty indicated they participated in distance education.  For the purpose of this study, this group is called “participators” and those who did not indicated participating in distance education are called “non-participators.”
 
Table 3: Demographic information

Category

Number

Percentage

Gender - male

168

63.9%

Gender - female

94

35.7%

Age = < 30 years

20

7.6%

Age = 30 - 45 years

117

44.5%

Age = 45 - 60 years

90

34.2%

Age = > 60 years

35

13.3%

Rank - Full Professor

126

47.9%

Rank - Associate Professor

74

28.1%

Rank - Assistant Professor

47

17.9%

Rank - Instructor

16

6.1%

Status - Tenured

186

70.7%

Status - Untenured

74

28.3%

 

A total of eleven administrators returned the self-study survey:  six deans, two vice presidents, one vice provost, one associate dean, and one acting assistant dean.  Of the eleven, nine completed all the sections, including those on motivating and inhibiting factors.

Faculty and administrators were asked to rate from 5 to 1 (5 = strongly agree; 1 = strongly disagree) to what extent they believed 29 factors had motivated, or would motivate, faculty to participate in distance education and 17 factors had inhibited, or would inhibit, faculty from participating in distance education. A factor analysis of all 46 factors (motivating and inhibiting) rendered four scales, showing distinct factor relationship patterns.  In addition, an overall "motivation" scale was calculated for the 29 motivating factors, and an overall "inhibiting" scale was calculated for the 17 inhibiting factors.  These six scales were used in further analysis of the response.

Scale 1 was labeled “Intrinsic motives” and had an Alpha coefficient of .9123.  The following factors grouped into this scale:

·       Intellectual challenge
·       Opportunity to diversify program offerings
·       Opportunity to develop new ideas
·       Overall job satisfaction
·       Opportunity to improve my teaching
·       Greater course flexibility for students
·       Personal motivation to use technology
·       Ability to reach new audiences that cannot attend classes on campus
·       Opportunity for scholarly pursuit
·       Opportunity to use personal research as a teaching tool

 

Scale 2 is labeled "Personal needs" and has an Alpha coefficient of .8956.  The following items grouped into "personal needs":
·       Release time
·       Credit toward promotion and tenure
·       Merit pay
·       Monetary support for participation (e.g., stipend, overload)
·       Visibility for jobs at other institutions/organizations
·       Lack of credit toward tenure and promotion
·       Grants for materials/expenses
·       Reduced teaching load
·       Working conditions (e.g., hours, location)
·       Professional prestige and status
·       Job security
·       Career exploration
·       Graduate training received
 
Scale 3 is labeled "Inhibitors" and has an Alpha coefficient of .8878.  The following items grouped into "inhibitors":
·       Lack of release time
·       Lack of support and encouragement from institution's administrators
·       Lack of merit pay
·       Lack of support and encouragement from departmental colleagues
·       Lack of monetary support for participation (e.g., stipend, overload)
·       Lack of support and encouragement from dean or chair
·       Lack of grants for materials/expenses
·       Lack of technical support provided by the institution
·       Lack of salary increase
·       Lack of distance education training provided by the institution
·       Lack of professional prestige
·       Concern about faculty workload
·       Negative comments made by colleagues about distance education teaching experiences
·       Concern about quality of courses

·       Concern about quality of students

Scale 4 is labeled "Extrinsic motives" and has an Alpha coefficient of .8440.  The following items grouped into "extrinsic motives":
·       Expectation by university that faculty participate
·       Requirement by department
·       Support and encouragement from dean or chair
·       Support and encouragement from departmental colleagues
·       Distance education training provided by the institution
·       Support and encouragement from institution's administrators
·       Technical support provided by the institution
·       Lack of technical background
 

 

The means of each the four scales and each individual factor (motivating and inhibiting) were analyzed using an ANOVA to test significant differences between level of faculty participation in distance education (participate, not participate).  Significant differences were found for nine motivating (M) factors and one inhibiting (I) factor.  The results are found in Table 3.  Overall, distance education participating faculty rated intrinsic motives higher (M1 and M26), while non-participating faculty rated higher personal needs (M4, M10, and M22), inhibitors (I3), and extrinsic motives (M19 and M23).
 
Table 4.  ANOVA calculated significant differences found between DE participation and motivating or inhibiting factors

Factor

Par. mean score

Non-par. mean score

F score

Significance level

M1 (Scale 1)

4.39

3.84

6.6307

p < .01

M4 (Scale 2)

2.58

3.33

9.0709

p < .01

M10 (Scale 2)

2.86

3.55

8.1869

p < .01

M19 (Scale 4)

3.33

3.85

5.5393

p < .01

M20 (Scale 2)

3.31

2.84

4.2912

p < .05

M22 (Scale 2)

2.86

3.37

3.8999

p < .05

M23 (Scale 4)

2.81

3.36

5.4578

p < .05

M26 (Scale 1)

3.97

3.54

4.2564

p < .05

I3 (Scale 3)

3.36

3.82

4.9078

p < .05

 
The same analysis was conducted including administrators' means.  Significant differences were found for twelve motivating factors, two inhibiting factors, and Scale 2 (Personal needs).  The results are found in Table 4.
 
Table 5. ANOVA calculated significant differences found between administrators and DE participation with motivating or inhibiting factors and the four scales

Factor

Par* mean

Non-par* mean

Admin mean

F score

Significance level

M1 (Scale 1)

4.39

3.84

4.56

4.6897

p < .01

M4 (Scale 2)

2.58

3.33

3.78

5.3317

p < .001

M5 (Scale 1)

3.09

3.38

4.25

3.0927

p < .05

M10 (Scale 2)

2.86

3.55

4.44

6.7877

p < .001

M16 (Scale 4)

3.31

3.03

4.11

4.1479

p < .05

M19 (Scale 4)

3.33

3.85

4.33

3.7907

p < .05

M20 (Scale 2)

3.31

2.84

3.67

3.7308

p < .05

M21 (Scale 2)

3.00

2.85

4.44

5.7116

p < .01

M22 (Scale 2)

2.86

3.37

4.44

5.0845

p < .01

M23 (Scale 4)

2.81

3.36

4.11

4.6789

p < .01

M24 (Scale 2)

2.91

3.41

4.11

3.3579

p < .05

I12 (Scale 3)

3.06

3.29

4.22

3.3774

p < .05

I17 (Scale 2)

3.17

3.02

4.11

3.0763

p < .05

Two (Personal needs)

2.90

3.10

3.85

4.3176

p < .05

* "Par" represents faculty 'participant' in distance education; "Non-par" represents faculty non-participants in distance education
 
Very significant differences (p < .001) were found between faculty (participators and non-participators) and administrators on "reduced teaching load" (M4) and "monetary support for participation" (M10).  The administrators rated these factors much higher than either faculty group, and the non-participators rated both higher than the participator group.  It is of interest to note the differences between groups on issues of "personal motivation to use technology" (M1), "credit toward promotion and tenure" (M21), "release time" (M22), and "distance education training provided by the institution" (M23).  Personal motivation was rated higher by participating faculty than non-participants, while the other three factors were rated higher by non-participating faculty.  The data shows administrators rate these factors significantly differently than faculty, whether participators in distance education or not; however, there were only 9 administrators who completed this section of the survey.
 
Using the mean scores for faculty, an ANOVA was calculated for differences in individual factors (motivating = M, inhibiting = I) or in the 4 scales by gender.  Significant differences were found in 18 motivating factors, nine inhibiting factors, and four scales.  Results are found in Table 5.
 
Table 6: ANOVA calculated significant differences found for gender of respondent and motivating or inhibiting factors

Factor

Male

Female

F score

Significance level

M2 (Scale 2)

2.20

2.60

5.3448

p < .05

M6 (Scale 4)

2.48

2.90

5.2045

p < .05

M7 Scale 4)

3.28

3.75

8.1996

p < .01

M9 (Scale 2)

2.71

3.13

4.8586

p < .05

M11 (Scale 4)

2.83

3.32

9.7475

p < .01

M12 (Scale 1)

3.77

4.09

4.3276

p < .05

M13 (Scale 2)

2.68

3.05

4.2798

p < .05

M16 (Scale 4)

2.91

3.37

7.8714

p < .01

M19 (Scale 4)

3.61

4.01

5.5773

p < .05

M20 (Scale 2)

2.76

3.19

5.9128

p < .05

M21 (Scale 2)

2.65

3.29

10.5251

p < .01

M22 (Scale 2)

3.13

3.53

4.0232

p < .05

M23 (Scale 4)

3.01

3.69

14.6315

p < .000

M25 (Scale 1)

3.50

3.88

5.3938

p < .05

M26 (Scale 1)

3.47

3.81

4.4079

p < .05

M28 (Scale 1)

3.67

4.04

5.3034

p < .05

M29 (Scale 4)

3.00

3.41

5.2209

p < .05

I3 (Scale 3)

3.60

4.00

6.6160

p < .01

I4 (Scale 3)

3.23

3.56

4.4139

p < .05

I7 (Scale 4)

2.82

3.69

27.5234

p < .000

I8 (Scale 3)

3.25

3.66

6.6696

p < .01

I9 (Scale 3)

3.50

3.88

5.4668

p < .05

I10 (Scale 3)

3.79

4.18

5.8003

p < .05

I11 (Scale 3)

3.94

4.25

4.8865

p < .05

I17 (Scale 3)

2.90

3.29

4.5335

p < .05

One (Intrinsic motives)

3.61

3.87

4.6719

p < .05

Two (Personal needs)

2.94

3.29

8.3697

p <.01

Three (Inhibitors)

3.43

3.67

5.6286

p <.05

Four (Extrinsic motives)

2.98

3.50

19.8973

p < .000

 
Overall, the female respondents rated each one of these factors higher.  There were very significant differences (p < .000 level) for "distance education training provided by the institution" (M23), lack of technological background (I7), and "extrinsic motives" (Scale Four).  A Chi-square test was used to test the null hypothesis that there was no relationship between gender and the level of faculty participation in distance education.  The Chi-square analysis indicated that gender had no significant effect on the level of faculty participation (p < .617); therefore, the hypothesis was not rejected.
 
The percentage of males and females participating and not participating in distance education did not deviate significantly from the group percentages (participators = 14.5%, non-participators = 85.5%).  The percentage of male faculty respondents participating in distance education was 13.7%, while the percentage for those not participating was 86.3%.  The percentage for female faculty respondents participating in distance education was 16%, while the percentage for those not participating was 84%.  This indicates that, of the faculty who responded to the survey, males and females were participating at the same level when compared to the overall distribution of male and female respondents.  There was no relationship found between gender and level of faculty participation in distance education.
 
Using only the mean scores for faculty, an ANOVA was calculated to test differences in individual factors (motivating = M, inhibiting = I) or in the 4 scales by age ranges.  Significant differences were found in 3 motivating factors and four inhibiting factors.  Results are found in Table 6.
 
Table 7: ANOVA calculated significant differences found regarding age of respondent and motivating or inhibiting factors

Factor

Under 30 years

30-45 years

45-60 years

60+ years

F - score

Significance level

M13 (Scale 2)

3.44

2.93

2.66

2.29

3.5613

p < .05

M20 (Scale 2)

3.67

2.93

2.85

2.52

3.2545

p < .05

M21 (Scale 2)

3.44

3.03

2.58

2.64

2.7237

p < .05

I9 (Scale 3)

4.05

3.56

3.48

4.11

2.9705

p < .05

I14 (Scale 3)

3.95

3.56

3.33

4.07

3.5200

p < .05

I16 (Scale 3)

3.42

3.20

2.81

3.56

3.7392

p < .05

I17 (Scale 3)

3.47

3.21

2.80

2.67

2.7977

p < .05

 
Overall, faculty who are under 30 years of age were more concerned about these factors than older faculty, except for " lack of grants for materials/expenses" (I9), "lack of monetary support for participation" (I14), and "lack of salary increase" (I16) where faculty over 60 years of age were more concerned.  The other factors listed refer to "visibility for jobs" (M13), "career exploration" (M20), and "credit or lack of credit toward promotion and tenure" (M21 and I17) for participation in distance education.  A Chi-square test was used to test the null hypothesis that there was no relationship between age and the level of faculty participation in distance education.  The Chi-square analysis indicated that age had no significant effect on the level of faculty participation (p < .674); therefore, the hypothesis was not rejected.
 
The percentage of faculty within each age range, participating and not participating in distance education, did not deviate significantly from the group percentages (participators = 14.1%, non-participators = 85.9%), except for the under 30 years of age group (5%).  The percentage of faculty respondents within the 30-45-age range participating in distance education was 15.4%, while the percentage for those not participating was 84.6%.  The percentage for faculty respondents within the 45-60-age range participating in distance education was 14.4%, while the percentage for those not participating was 85.6%.  The percentage for faculty respondents within the 60+-age range was 14.3%, while the percentage for those not participating was 85.7%.  This indicates that, in spite of age group, the faculty who responded to the survey were participating at the same level when compared to the overall distribution of respondents' ages.  There was no relationship found between age and level of faculty participation in distance education.
 
Using only the mean scores for faculty, an ANOVA was calculated to see if there were differences in individual factors (motivating = M, inhibiting = I) or in the 4 scales by position level.  Significant differences were found in nine motivating factors, one inhibiting factors, and two scales.  Results are found in Table 7.
 

Table 8: ANOVA calculated for differences by position level of respondents

Factor

Full Prof.

Assoc. Prof.

Asst. Prof.

Instr.

F-score

Significance level

M2 (Scale 2)

2.11

2.09

3.12

2.69

8.7972

p < .000

M3 (Scale 1)

3.43

3.28

4.07

3.88

4.0310

p < .01

M9 (Scale 2)

2.60

2.75

3.35

3.69

5.6240

p < .001

M13 (Scale 2)

2.54

2.63

3.33

3.81

7.9051

p < .000

M16 (Scale 4)

2.90

3.03

3.49

3.25

2.6496

p < .05

M20 (Scale 2)

2.63

2.80

3.53

3.50

6.8391

p < .001

M21 (Scale 2)

2.24

2.91

3.88

3.69

19.5159

p < .000

M22 (Scale 2)

2.96

3.35

3.75

3.69

3.7749

p < .05

M29 (Scale 4)

2.95

3.15

3.60

3.19

2.6533

p < .05

I17 (Scale 2)

2.66

2.91

3.83

3.75

10.6893

p < .000

Two (Personal needs)

2.83

2.99

3.55

3.57

9.3004

p < .000

Four (Extrinsic motives)

3.02

3.15

3.46

3.41

2.9120

p < .05

 
Overall, faculty who were Assistant Professors or Instructors were more likely to be either motivated or inhibited by these factors, with very significant differences (p < .001 level) for "job security" (M9) and "career exploration" (M20), and highly significant differences (p < .000 level) for "graduate training received" (M2), "visibility for jobs" (M13), "credit or lack of credit toward promotion and tenure" (M21 and I17), and "personal needs" (Scale 2).  A Chi-square test was used to test the null hypothesis that there was no relationship between faculty position and the level of faculty participation in distance education.  The Chi-square analysis indicated that faculty position had no significant effect on the level of faculty participation (p < .395); therefore, the hypothesis was not rejected.
 
The percentage of faculty within faculty position level participating and not participating in distance education did not deviate significantly from the group percentages (participators = 14.4%, non-participators = 85.6%), except for Instructors where only 1 out of 16 participated in distance education.  The percentage of faculty respondents who were full professors participating in distance education was 11.9%, while the percentage for those not participating was 88.1%.  The percentage for faculty respondents who were associate professors participating in distance education was 18.9%, while the percentage for those not participating was 81.1%.  The percentage for faculty respondents who were assistant professors participating in distance education was 17.0%, while the percentage for those not participating was 83.0%.  This indicates that, in spite of faculty position level, the faculty who responded to the survey were participating at the same level when compared to the overall distribution of position levels.  There was no relationship found between faculty position level and level of faculty participation in distance education.
 
Using only the mean scores for faculty, an ANOVA was calculated to see if there were differences in individual factors (motivating = M, inhibiting = I) or in the 4 scales by tenure status.  Significant differences were found in ten motivating factors, two inhibiting factors, and one scale.  Results are found in Table 8.
 

Table 9: ANOVA calculated for differences by tenure status of respondents

Factor

Tenured

Non-tenured

F - score

Significance level

M2 (Scale 2)

2.04

2.94

28.1901

p < .000

M3 (Scale 1)

3.32

4.01

14.2171

p < .000

M9 (Scale 2)

2.62

3.39

16.2421

p < .001

M11 (Scale 4)

2.89

3.24

4.2128

p < .05

M13 (Scale 2)

2.49

3.48

31.2491

p < .000

M14 (Scale 2)

2.84

3.25

4.8255

p < .05

M20 (Scale 2)

2.68

3.40

15.9971

p < .000

M21 (Scale 2)

2.45

3.74

46.9029

p < .000

M22 (Scale 2)

3.13

3.58

4.6383

p < .05

M29 (Scale 4)

3.03

3.41

4.2125

p < .05

I17 (Scale 2)

2.68

3.79

38.5038

p < .000

Two (Personal needs)

2.87

3.47

23.9709

p < .000

 
Overall, the non-tenured faculty rated these issues higher than tenured faculty.  There were highly significant differences (.001 or .000 levels) between tenured and non-tenured faculty on "graduate training received" (M2), "opportunity for scholarly pursuit" (M3), "job security" (M9), "visibility of jobs" (M13), "career exploration" (M20), "credit or lack of credit toward tenure and promotion" (M21 and I17), and the "personal needs" scale (Scale Two).  A Chi-square test was used to test the null hypothesis that there was no relationship between tenure status and the level of faculty participation in distance education.  The Chi-square analysis indicated that tenure status had no significant effect on the level of faculty participation (p < .854); therefore, the hypothesis was not rejected.
 
The percentage of tenured and non-tenured participating and not participating in distance education did not deviate significantly from the group percentages (participators = 14.2%, non-participators = 85.8%).  The percentage of tenured faculty respondents participating in distance education was 14.0%, while the percentage for those not participating was 86.0%.  The percentage for non-tenured faculty respondents participating in distance education was 14.9%, while the percentage for those not participating was 85.1%.  This indicates that, of the faculty who responded to the survey, tenured and non-tenured faculty were participating at the same level when compared to the overall distribution of respondents.  There was no relationship found between tenure status and level of faculty participation in distance education
 

Discussion

 While there no statistically significant differences were found for faculty gender, age range, rank or tenure status in DE participation, differences were found between faculty and administrators perceptions of what motivates faculty DE participation.  Faculty participants in distance education appear to be more highly motivated by intrinsic issues of Scale 1 (e.g., intellectual challenge, and overall job satisfaction) than non-participating faculty.  Along those same lines, non-participating faculty seem to be more effected by personal needs of Scale 2 (e.g., release time, credit toward promotion and tenure, and merit pay), inhibitors of Scale 3 (e.g., lack of release time, lack of merit pay, lack of monetary support for participation), and extrinsic motives of Scale 4 (e.g., expectation by university, requirement by department, lack of technical background).
 
This finding may be due to the fact that faculty participating in distance education have already responded to personal needs and external pressures, feel comfortable with their technical skills and are ready to move forward in developing programs and supporting students through distance education.  They know what works for them and what does not, while non-participating faculty may be caught up in the personal technical concerns, preventing them from concentrating on pedagogical issues.
 
Administrators rated factors associated with personal needs of Scale 2 higher than either DE participating or non-participating faculty.  Clearly, the administrators who responded to this survey considered issues of financial support and release time/reduced teaching load to be very important to faculty when deciding whether to participate in distance education or not.  This finding could be due to prior experience, but this cannot be indicated from this study.  Overall, the administrators in this study did not appear to truly understand what would motivate faculty who do participate in distance education, but had a clear perception of what would inhibit faculty from DE participation.  Also of interest is the fact that the non-participating faculty rated personal needs Scale 2 highly.  This finding, combined with administrators rating this scale highly, may give some administrators support for continuing to offer financial incentives and compensation for teaching distance education courses.
 
The female responses in this study were significantly different from the males, specifically on issues related to extrinsic motives.  Lack of technological background supports other research that has demonstrated women are not attracted to using technology.  As for overall extrinsic motives, these are factors having to do with administrative support and encouragement for participation.  The results of this study do not answer why female respondents appear to be more willing to be motivated by what is expected, required and/or supported through administrative channels, which would need to be a separate study.
 
Age, faculty level, and tenure status demonstrated significant differences in areas relating to personal needs.  Most specifically, differences were found for faculty under age 30, at the Assistant Professor or Instructor level, and non-tenured.  This, too, is not surprising since these three faculty groups are closely related and have the most to gain or lose from participating in distance education, including the possibility of a negative effect on promotion and tenure or a positive impact on career exploration and job opportunities.  In research extensive universities, these groups are pressured to conduct research and publish results.  Preparing for and teaching a distance education course is reported as very time consuming if done alone, taking away from precious research time.  Therefore, younger and junior faculty, who may be more adept at using technology and excited about new opportunities, may be dissuaded from participating due to competing needs.
 

Conclusion

 As noted previously, faculty are the key to a successful distance education program.  This study showed that faculty participating in distance education were much more likely to be motivated to participate by issues that are intrinsic motivations (i.e., overall job satisfaction), rather than personal needs (i.e., release time), negative issues (i.e., lack of support from administrators), or extrinsic motives (i.e., lack of technical background).  This finding supported, and expanded, work by Rockwell, Schauer, Fritz and Marx (1999), who reported that distance education faculty state intrinsic incentives for participating in distance education.  In addition, non-participating faculty in this study noted personal needs and extrinsic motives as more motivating for participation than intrinsic motivations.  And lastly, the administrators in this study did not seem to understand what motivates faculty to participate in distance education, but were very sure what would inhibit participation.
 
The concerns of junior, untenured faculty need careful consideration.  This group of faculty may be more likely to be comfortable using technology and, therefore, more apt to be intrigued by teaching a distance course; but they are also more likely to need to use time in the pursuit of tenure, especially in a research extensive university.  Further research is needed to determine whether teaching in distance education programs negatively effects junior, untenured faculty, and if so, how.
 
Administrators must understand what motivates and inhibits faculty distance education participation in order to maximize efforts, yet this study suggests that administrators may not understand what motivates faculty to participate.  This lack of understanding of motivating factors may negatively effect distance education program development.  It may skew compensation and incentive efforts toward the extrinsic scale (i.e., expectation by university) rather than concentrating on what really motivates faculty (i.e., overall job satisfaction) or moving past issues of how to use technology (i.e., learning software) toward developing pedagogical models for distance education.
 
Faculty and administrators must work together to make a distance program successful.  Understanding each other's perspectives will make the difference between a successful program and one that is either marginal or weak.  It is easy to concentrate on technical training and financial rewards, which cater to the extrinsic and personal scales, and ignore the intrinsic scale that appears to motivate faculty to explore new ways of teaching and learning.  Using the factors of the motivating scale and moving discussions toward pedagogical concepts will bring faculty toward teaching in distance education programs. This study needs to be expanded to include additional university and college faculty, including those from 2-year and 4-year institutions, liberal arts colleges and research extensive universities, to determine whether these findings are unique to this institution.  This extensive study might begin to ascertain whether individual institution culture makes the difference in student and administrator responses.

 


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Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Volume V, Number I, Spring 2002

State University of West Georgia, Distance Education Center

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