What Academic Administrators Should Know to Attract Senior Level Faculty Members to Online Learning Environments


D. L. Giannoni
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314
dgiannon@nova.edu

Dana V. Tesone
University of Central Florida
PO Box 161450
Orlando, Florida 32816
dtesone@mail.ucf.edu

 

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to present findings of a focus group study used to design a survey instrument for applications in future studies to determine factors of influence that inspire senior faculty members to participate in course delivery through online learning environments (OLE). Much of the general research that is available, identifies concerns such as monetary compensation, and concerns for technological savvy, however these concerns are not true for all faculty members. The differing motivational factors (as they have emerged in the literature) have shown to be related to faculty appointment levels and years of service, which seem to play an important role in identifying how administrators can encourage these seasoned instructors to participate in the online learning environments. The article concludes with discussion points to encourage academic administrators to consider the merits of senior level faculty member inclusion into online learning environment delivery formats.

Introduction

The academic literature demonstrates admirable recent findings concerning the motivations and deterrents associated with faculty involvement in online learning environments (OLE), (Bower, 2001; Chizmar & Williams, 2001; Passmore, 2000; Van Der Velde & Rawl, 2002; Husmann & Miller, 2001). A number of studies have considered the internal rankings of faculty subjects within their data collection reports (Betts, 1998; Clay, 1999; Rahman, 2001; Rockwell, et al.; 2001; Schifter, 2000). This study provides exclusive emphasis on the group of faculty members considered to be "senior", as defined by various institutional ranking schemas. While certain studies have noted differentials among influencing motivational factors between junior and senior faculty status (Rockwell, Schauer, Fritz, and Mark, 2000); others go so far as to suggest levels of resistance on the part of senior faculty members concerning inclusion into OLE programs (Rahman, M. 2001). If these resistance levels were true for an institution, it would be likely that senior level faculty members would have a tendency to refrain from participation in OLE course delivery. In such cases, it could be suggested that academic leaders are responsible for the denial of student interactions with highly experienced educators in their OLE programs.

It would seem to be logical that academic administrators would seek to find ways to include these experts within the OLE faculty listings. This suggests the need to discover a more exact portrayal of the motivations from this select population, in hopes of relaying valuable information to inform leaders in their role as harbingers of catalytic change in the academic arena. Leaders are the pivotal decision-makers and managing agents of sustainable change in support of the ever-evolving paradigm shift in higher education (Tesone, Fischler, Giannoni, 2002). Much of their influence is integral to inspiring those established educators concerning what this shift entails in terms of the class platform/environment, and to the student-centered/faculty facilitated modes of instruction (Paloff and Pratt, 2001).

The purpose of this research is based partly on the recommendations, implications and conclusions discovered in previous studies. The differing motivational factors (as they have emerged in the literature) have indicated a relationship to faculty appointment levels and years of service, which seem to play an important role in identifying how administrators can encourage these seasoned instructors to participate in the online learning environments. For this reason, the authors present their findings based on data collected from existing studies, as well as the results of a focus group study targeting this specific group of educators to present a survey instrument design for future use by academic leaders. The article concludes with discussion points to encourage academic administrators to consider the merits of senior level faculty member (SLFM) inclusion into OLE delivery formats.

Perceptual Disparity

It would not be surprising to note levels of disparity between the perceptions of motivating factors between those engaged in professions and others who occupy formal leadership positions (Breiter &Tesone, 2003). The same disparity has been held to be true between faculty members and administrators in reference to OLE participation (Betts, 1998). Seemingly, from this study, those things that influence and rate as most important motivators are often of an intrinsic category, whereas administrators conversely, rated extrinsic-type motivators as their perceptions of what mattered most to these faculty. Another OLE study identifies the importance of faculty contributions to program success, by observing that faculty members are what most academic leaders consider most influential, at approximately eighty percent value to what makes this environment successful (Husmann and Miller, 2001). Clay, (2001) reiterates these themes by noting that paramount to the successful (OLE) courses are the professors that deliver them. Truly, the perceptions and actions of administrative leadership in this regard can greatly impact the overall effectiveness and quality of this learning environment.

While many academic leaders are committed to supporting faculty members in their integral role in the OLE (Bower, 2001), there seems to be a significant and select group of instructors who are commonly observed vocal critics of online education; the senior level faculty member. Likewise it is this group that leadership has the most difficulty enlisting in participating and/or pioneering the environment. Some confusion as to what motivates this faculty group may be a result of data and research results that have been applied to the general faculty population, although other studies have reported that there are significant differences in motivations between these groups of varying faculty appointments. Leadership figures seeking to accommodate senior level faculty members to transitioning their academic expertise into the online learning environment need more accurate and particular data that reveals the motivating and/or deterring influences of this important and select population, in order to inspire and champion quality online instruction and development (Schifter, 2000).

Other Perceptions

A common thread that seems to emerge in the related literature is the degree of influence that beliefs and feeling-oriented (affective) motivations play as influencers of participation among senior faculty members in the OLE. These influences of an affective nature are often more difficult to articulate and evaluate, but are no less weighty than other categories in comprehending the motivations of this important group of academicians. Further, there is some evidence that seasoned faculty members who have attained or achieved certain personal and career goals, deem less important those areas that are often offered as support measures when compared with their junior counterparts or adjunct instructors. Because of this difference and confusion with motivational aspects that apply to other faculty members (adjunct, tenure track or other), their issues may not be properly understood or supported by academic leaders.

According to Schifter (2000) in the survey she conducted, results showed there were no similarities in motivating factors among the academician groups, administrators, full-time faculty, and part-time, with the exception of just two sections which were commonly agreed upon by all three. The implications of these results could provide fodder for understanding why some SLFMs seem consistently resistant to teaching in the OLE. These implications may also explain the lack of enthusiasm in their perceptions and beliefs about the values of instructing or developing online courses, due to differing viewpoints relative to the perceptions and beliefs of administrators and other faculty members.

Seemingly there exists a certain agreement however, between senior faculty members and those of the students that choose to study in the online format. According to some studies the motivating factors for these faculty members and students alike are those of achieving what Maslow (1943) dubbed self-actualizing motivational states. These learners are often characterized through the literature, as motivated, self-initiators, who are adept at critical thinking and are inclined to an innovative and challenging environment, something that senior level faculty members often cite as the type of students they most desire to teach (Stake and Hoffman, 2001). These faculty members according to Schifter (2000) are most concerned with what could be called the ‘art of teaching’ and their students, the ‘art of learning’. For instance, some scholars provide reminders to academic administrators of factors forgotten (Boschmann, 1998).

Says Boschmann,

"…decisions …can be (best) facilitated if we keep in mind those fundamentals which do not change; namely, that faculty are motivated by intellectual challenges and meaningful incentives, and that students learn best if given a chance to be engaged"(1998).

Kettner-Polley partially attributes the increase in student interest in subject matter to the environment itself, by saying,

"I am not doing anything substantially different in this setting than what I did in the classroom: the virtual classroom is simply a better medium to get across complex ideas" (1999).

The opinions and experiences of these SLFM’s that have made the OLE transition provide important affective mindsets for the consideration of those motivating factors of an intrinsic nature that seem to matter most to these senior professors. Hence, surveys chosen for review as part of this study are those indicating designs to best reveal and articulate these factors.

Resistance, Deterrents, Obstacles

Schifter (2000) also conducted a research study that looked at compensation models; her introduction to the study stated that some researchers found faculty members resist the move to the online learning environment because of a belief that it is more time consuming and challenging then traditional teaching. Another study suggests that online education has created a new paradigm, which has further fostered a new basis for learning that involves innovation and entrepreneurship requiring internal change on the part of participating faculty members (Rahman, 2001). Schrum (2002) remarks about the dilemma of change in the environment.

Says Schrum,

"[a] growing body of literature has begun to emerge about the nature of learning online. Development of any educational environment is a complex task, but faculty members have had an especially difficult time changing the ways in which they teach in this milieu, regardless of these educators’ own personal use of electronic media" (2002).

Certain educational visionaries recognize the business aspect but also the enormous effect that the OLE has brought to formal educational systems and the offers of a learner-centered paradigm. Nevertheless the OLE is often evaluated with a criteria used for a traditional environment, comparing traditional classroom courses to online courses and in many ways the two are incomparable (Schulman and Sims, 1999).

If the perceptions for deeming the value of OLE’s are skewed or tainted by the implementation of evaluation tools designed for the old paradigm and traditional environments, it will be difficult to convince certain faculty members to be ‘risk takers’ or to evaluate the ‘big picture’ shift and opportunities that online education has brought to formal educational systems. These beliefs again may largely contribute to the motivational factors that cause seasoned faculty members to resist the move.

Chang, V., (1999) elaborates on this critical factor; "Educators need to equip themselves with instruments that allow the effectiveness of Web based learning to be evaluated". She describes a newly developed instrument which assesses student perceptions of four core aspects (with a focus on the affective motivations) of the Web based learning environment and that better allows researchers and developers to evaluate the use of the Web as a learning environment.

According to Beverly Bower (2001) there are a variety of reasons whereby faculty members resist teaching in distance learning environments. They can resist individually or as a whole. While individual faculty members may have reasons to resist participating, there are also general reasons that apply to most instructors' resistance to online adaptation. Concerns over which many faculty members in general seem to agree have to do with intellectual property rights, monetary reward systems for development and design of instructional material, possession of necessary and progressive technological savvy, having proper technical support for themselves and the students, time issues as to training, course preparations and workloads, etc.

However the extrinsic and overarching concerns often noted (as rating most or highly important) may not apply to all faculty members. Rockwell, Schauer, Fritz, & Marx, (1999) described as a result of their survey, a significant number of respondents whom perceived online teaching as an obstacle to tenure and promotion criteria, suggesting that professional recognition is differentiated between junior and senior level faculty members. If some perceptions about the OLE, are based on results of surveys designed for application in traditional environments this may be a primary reason for misconceptions. A second reason might be that of not differentiating faculty appointments, to obtain segmented analysis from these respondents in the surveys. Research that has been done to analyze what motivates faculty to participate, has usually only revealed concerns for overall academicians of all faulty ranks, and therefore (Giannoni, 2001) the senior faculty members motivations are more obscure because of the design nature of the study to a general faculty population (this can include faculty chairs, and administrators that also serve as faculty).

Yet a third aspect that may have allowed an obscured view as to what motivates this senior-level instructor to embrace the OLE is because all of these studies and data are relatively new and emerging concepts for this quickly and ever-evolving shift to the online environment and the paradigmatic philosophy and experiences that follow it.

Passmore (2000) in a review of a decade long study of this subject concluded that incentive is lacking for some faculty members to participate because there are no reward systems for instructor’s taking on the above mentioned increased work loads and training which are required for proficiency in this environment. Those motivations as mentioned have varied widely between those interviewed. The studies have shown that junior-level or adjunct faculty are most motivated by extrinsic rewards whereas the seasoned or tenured faculty member is not, and rather tends to be moved by more intrinsic rewards that coincide with having achieved a state of success in academe, and in their life goals. Armed with this understanding the leader may be more apt to laud the virtues of the OLE and inspire such faculty to participate as pioneers and developers of the OLE frontier.

According to Boschmann (1998) cultural changes do not take place rapidly. It takes time to learn to adapt to new opportunities, to adapt to new ways of looking at scholarship, and to integrate these into the fabric of an existing reward structure. Often there are few if any such professional or intrinsically motivated recognitions and rewards offered by institutions that hope to develop their online courses to meet the increasing demand from students for this format.

It is obvious and also evidenced by paradoxical reward systems, that academe in general perhaps has not yet fully evaluated the contributions that the OLE can bring to the students, faculty members and institutions that engage in them. This implied attitude (by not-rewarding and in some cases penalizing by omission) those who participate in the OLE, may foster a cascading effect on the faculty perceptions as to the value and future role of the OLE to meet professional and institutional goals. Still yet, there are those dedicated and pioneering faculty members who do realize and partake in the opportunity for research in the OLE, though no financial rewards or recognitions are endowed (Giannoni 2001).

Attraction, Motivation, & Inspiration

Before institutions launch online and distance learning initiatives, a worthwhile study as to what successfully motivates people to teach in online programs is needed (Schifter, 2000). Schifter further discovered five top motivating factors reported by faculty participators and non-participators, and administrators. "While faculty and administrators agreed strongly on what inhibits faculty from participating in ALN/DE (asynchronous learning distance education) programs, there were significantly different perceptions on what motivates faculty to participate across the three groups.  For ALN/DE programs to succeed "faculty participation is imperative; therefore, program administrators need to understand why faculty participate" (2000).

Leaders can and should promote and install cultural perception as to the academic value of the OLE. Boschmann (1998) remarked that "Rapidly evolving endeavors bring about a threatening gap between the world of decision-makers and those affected by their decisions. The only solution is to find and work from a common denominator. Our common denominator is a set of agreed-upon premises for technology. He suggests the following guidelines for leaders to establish; 1) Learning is not bound by place, time, speed, or style. 2) Learning takes place best when students are engaged. 3) Technology is the best tool to foster student engagement. 4) Research in these areas is bona fide scholarship.

The result of one survey conducted by Rockwell, et al., reported that primary faculty incentives for online teaching included innovative instruction, new teaching techniques, self-gratification, and professional recognition (1999). These research authors found that six of the nine items identified as incentives were related to ‘intrinsic or personal rewards’ for the instructor.

They included:

However these same researchers went on to note that a number of respondents perceived online teaching as an obstacle to tenure and promotion criteria, which suggests that professional recognition is differentiated between junior and senior level faculty members. While some SLFMs perceive that there will be a sacrifice of pedagogical principles in the online educational format, others realize that new teaching and learning environments can follow designs that support professional beliefs and principles (Boettcher, J., Conrad, R., 1999).

According to Bower (2001) another motivation that institutions should reward faculty members with is a workload adjustment; as mentioned earlier in the study by Schifter (2000) there is a belief that the online environment will cause increased workloads and this belief in turn further promulgates a perception inducing resistance. Bower suggests that institutions that do offer course reductions for such faculty members are successful in motivating them to take on the OLE. Yet other research results uncovered from an NEA study showed that eighty-four percent of instructors do not receive this incentive (Schifter, 2000).

Motivations that best serve some instructors however, such as reduction in duties and increase in pay, are not necessarily true for all. Rockwell, et al. (2000) conducted a survey of faculty members, which divided respondents by faculty member's appointments, expertise, and years of experience. Their study revealed that tenured and senior level faculty members ranked these aspects of lower concern, while their counterparts ranked them of higher concern. Rockwell, et al., summarized their research with the assessment that primary incentives which encourage faculty to adapt teaching strategies to (the OLE) fall within the categories of intrinsic or personal rewards. These include the opportunity to provide innovative instruction and apply new teaching techniques as well as self-gratification, fulfilling a personal desire to teach, recognition of their work, and peer recognition (2000). Part of the difficulty then could be in knowing which incentives may be applied as motivators to which faculty appointments. Apparently, there is not a "one size fits all" within the generalized solutions that are purported to inspire all faculty members to partake in the OLE.

So what does measure as a higher level of concern for senior level faculty? It seems that senior level faculty members possess a low propensity of being influenced by institutional rigors, having satisfied the criteria for academic "establishment" (rank and promotion). These individuals are usually positioned for the pursuit of professional goals that provide personal satisfaction, a motivational state that Maslow (1943) would call "self-actualization." Hence, recruiters, (administrator/leaders and faculty coordinators) would consider those self-actualizing attributes when identifying incentives and obstacles in the process of attracting senior faculty members to the OLE.

Rahman (2001), in an intensive in-depth study on recruitment strategies to induce seasoned instructors to participate in the OLE, summarizes that supporters of the OLE believe in its educational value, and detractors do not. He enforces however that the online learning environment offers an opportunity to a significant group of learners who would have had difficulty achieving their higher educational goals any other way. These attributions of the OLE can serve to motivate faculty members who are interested in the opportunity to reach remote students. It also speaks to a motivation incentive that senior faculty members often mention, which is the opportunity to work with more motivated students.

Rahman’s (2001) study also concluded that institutional benefits for adopting and developing online education, which are married to the mission of the school, could also enhance interest and participation of seasoned faculty. Still other literature has revealed that some senior level academicians are very concerned with a perceived denigration of certain aspects of a pedagogical nature in the institutional mission. When an institution heralds how the OLE can provide and expand such an organization’s mission, as suggested by (Boschmann, 1998) faculty members can be intrinsically motivated to make necessary adaptations.

Some of the same motivations and beliefs that attract students to the online environment could be likewise attributed to attracting seasoned faculty to this environment. As has been concluded in some of the literature the intrinsic motivations for engaging in the OLE by faculty members and students often overlap; particularly in the areas of utilizing an innovative and challenging environment. Appealing and theoretically central to many faculty members is the desire to stimulate critical thinking skills. Stake & Hoffman (2001) stated that the "development of critical thinking and open-mindedness requires a critical stance toward established paradigms and an openness to alternate viewpoints". Administrators can cultivate an appreciation for the OLE by reiterating such central themes, that academe has traditionally applauded, and apply them to viewing the OLE as a research area worthy of pioneering and establishing for future potential. Chizmar, and Williams (2001) conducted a faculty survey/study that sought to measure these motivations and perceptions, and recommended in their paper "What do Faculty Want?" that "The incentives structures indicating what our universities value still tilt heavily toward traditional research. Our best advice is to change these traditional incentive structures" (2001).

One such investigation noted; intellectual challenge, motivated students, release time, opportunities to use technology and reduced travel as motivators for faculty participation in OLE's which concluded that a theme of "faculty flexibility" was a significant factor in the study (Clay, 1999). McKenzie, Mims, Bennett, and Waugh (2000) reported a ranked order of faculty incentives that respectively included opportunities to use technology, meeting student needs at a distance, flexible work hours, and student interaction levels. Although certain studies have noted a number of obstacles for online faculty such as, development time, insufficient technical support, and instructional training (Rockwell, et al., 1999; McKenzie, et al., 2000), according to Clay (1999), faculty payment was cited as a neutral motivational factor. However, Van Der Velde and Rawl reported that summer overloads in the range of twenty percent of base salary serve as motivators for most nine-month faculty members to consider online instruction for these courses (2000).

Rahman’s (2001) faculty recruitment strategy and case study also revealed similar findings; online instructors often chose this environment because of the flexibility that it offers. This motivational aspect cannot however be ascribed as inspirational for all instructors, but in a world that seems to increasingly compete for our time and presence, this aspect of flexibility could increase the appeal for some senior level instructors to engage in online education and could be interpreted as an intrinsic reward.

Compatibility

The literature does suggest that incentives for participation in online environments are compatible with the self-actualizing attributes of senior level faculty members. While the majority of the reviewed SLFM motivating factors are focused on the intrinsic nature, certain extrinsic variables seem to also be applicable in the categories of location (reduced travel) and time (flexible work schedules). For instance, a faculty member who possesses an interest in pursuing professional development activities during summer months would be able to earn a summer overload through an online environment, which would permit the flexibility to work from any location at any time in an asynchronous medium. As mentioned earlier the extrinsic factors of time and location may also be consistent with student motivational needs to enter online programs (similar to those of the extrinsic values of the SFLM).

The literature provides evidence that intrinsic motivators are certain influencers encouraging some senior level faculty members to engage in online learning environment course delivery. Also, the literature provides reason to suspect that certain motivational factors may appear to represent extrinsic factors, while possessing intrinsic value to prospective participants based on factors associated with OLE activities. Finally, the literature provides a basis for determining the methodology for this study.

Methodology

The substantial aspect leading to the methodology used for this study was to present extractions from the literature as presented in prior sections of the article to conduct a comparative analysis of prior results from five previous surveys and studies noted throughout this literature review. This was followed by an informal convenience sample focus group survey completed with individuals comprising the SLFM category (n=15). The respondent data were then contrasted and compared with certain studies extracted from the literature. The purpose of the study was to identify motivational factors influencing SLFM’s to engage in OLE and to investigate the application of those influencers for senior faculty to engage in asynchronous online course delivery. Finally, the information gathered resulted in the preliminary development of a survey for future use.

Research Objectives

Based on a review, analysis and summarization of the literature there were three research objectives established for this study. The research objectives were to:

  1. Identify common motivational factors that may influence senior-level faculty member participation in asynchronous online course delivery programs.
  2. Investigate the application of motivational factors as influencers of senior level faculty member participation in asynchronous online course delivery programs.
  3. Develop a survey instrument format to be used as a metric for administrators to implement to determine the motivational factors influencing senior level faculty member participation in online learning environment programs for specific samples.

Data Collection

Based on the literature a number of factors were reviewed and summarized into categories representing common thematic motivational classifications. A spreadsheet grid was developed to compare the category listings among five prominent studies noted in the literature (Betts, 1998; Clay, 1999; Rahman, 2001; Rockwell, et al., 2001; Schifter, 2000). A frequency distribution was generated indicating the number of times each classification was used in each study. The categories were then ranked in descending order to produce a listing that ranged from most frequently cited to those that were cited least frequently.

The original listing included five apparently extrinsic motivational factors and five apparently intrinsic factors. The listing based on rank order of frequency from the literature produced a format that blended motivational factors from both the intrinsic (I) and extrinsic (E) categories. The layout of the 10 factors represented the following categorical pattern: 1E, 2I, 1E, 2I, 1E, 1I, and 2E, for a total of 10 motivational factors. The E/I categories were noted in a two-color shading scheme on the grid, which was viewed exclusively by the authors. Columns were added to the grid to represent a Likert type scale to be used for a convenience sample focus group to collect data from senior level faculty members. The survey asked them to report ratings of motivational factors as potential influencers to participate in ALN/DE programs. The Likert-type rating scale assigned the following values: 1=strongly agree, 2=agree, 3=somewhat agree (neutral), 4=Disagree, 5=Strongly Disagree.

The grid became a data collection survey for a target convenience sample consisting of senior level faculty members (n=15) who were known to the authors. The authors allocated an eight-hour time period to contact each potential respondent by phone to administer the survey. A brief explanation of the nature of the study, as well as the data collection format was presented to each respondent. Each respondent was then asked to rate the motivational influence to participate in ALN/DE for each factor on a scale of one-through-five, indicating a range of "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree".

The authors contacted each of the sample subjects by phone during the allotted time period. Of the fifteen phone calls placed, 10 actually reached intended respondents, of which all agreed to participate in the survey. Hence the data collection sample (n=10) indicated a 66 percent response rate. All of the 10 respondents participated in an appropriate manner resulting in all of the responses to be included in the data collection process.

All respondents were assured anonymity and the recorded scores did not correlate with any respondent by name. Since the convenience sample was of a very small nature, the authors made no attempt to collect demographic data other than the qualification of SLFM status, as there was no purpose in determining validity or reliability influences from extraneous variables. Instead, the authors entered the raw data directly into the Likert-type scale and assigned a numerical value to each respondent at conclusion of the interview. All of the interviews were completed within the allotted eight-hour time frame resulting in a completed table of collected raw data. Table 1 provides a sample of the completed survey scores.

Table 1. Sample of Completed Survey Scores (Raw Data) on Factors of Influence

Factors of influence that inspire senior faculty members to participate in course delivery through online learning environments. Respondents asked to rate the motivational influence to participate in ALN/DE for each factor on a scale of one-through-five, indicating a range of "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree".
  

E= Extrinsic I -Intrinsic

Release Time

5

E

7

2

1

Personal Satisfaction

5

I

1

4

4

1

Teaching Development

5

I

6

3

1

Technical Support

4

E

5

3

2

Professional Prestige

3

I

3

2

2

2

1

Intellectual Challenge

3

I

3

6

1

Monetary

2

E

5

1

3

1

Recognition

2

I

3

2

3

2

Job Security

1

E

5

3

1

1

Promotion

1

E

4

3

1

2

Totals

42

29

19

7

3

Motivating = 71% ; Neutral = 19% ; Not-motivating=10%

Motivating = 71% ; Neutral and Not-Motivating=29%

Motivating and Neutral = 90%; Not-Motivating=10%

Data Analysis

The raw data were tallied in rows to ensure consistency with the number of responses for each survey participant. Next the raw scores were tallied by columns to indicate totals for each column representing a level of agreement on the Likert-type scale. The first test consisted of combining scores in the categories of "Motivating" (sum of Strongly Agree and Agree responses) and "Not-motivating" (sum of Disagree and Strongly Disagree responses) from the survey responses. The motivational factors were then sorted in descending order beginning with the highest raw score rating. The color-coded backgrounds of each row provided an indication of the category of each factor (extrinsic and intrinsic). Table 2 provides a listing of ranked order raw scores in descending order, indicating highest levels of agreement toward the top of the chart.

Table 2. Ranked Order Raw Scores (in Descending Order)

Convenience Sample Agree Categories

Agree Raw Scores in Descending Order

Release Time

10

Teaching Development

10

Technical Support

10

Intellectual Challenge

10

Personal Satisfaction

9

Monetary

9

Job Security

9

Recognition

8

Promotion

8

Professional Prestige

7

Total 90

46 Extrinsic - 44 Intrinsic

The raw scores were then calculated based on the averaged weights assigned to the Likert-type scale to provide an analysis of frequency levels beyond those reflected in the raw score totals. A weighted mean average score was calculated for each of the ten motivational factors on the grid. Since the "strongly agree" category represented a weighted value of ‘1’, the weighted average factors were listed in ascending order in the chart. Again, colored backgrounds coded the motivational factors in extrinsic and intrinsic categories. Table 3 demonstrates a representation of the sorted mean average data.

Table 3. Representation of the Sorted Mean Average Data

Frequency in Literature

 

Studies

Totals

Raw Scores in Focus Group

Agree Raw Scores in Descending Order

 

Weighted Mean Average in Focus Group

 

Weighted

Averages

 

I/E Ratio

Release Time

5

Release Time

10

Release Time

1.4

0:3

Personal Satisfaction

5

Teaching Development

10

Technical Support

1.5

2:1

Teaching Development

5

Intellectual Challenge

10

Intellectual Challenge

1.7

3:0

Technical Support

4

Technical Support

10

Personal Satisfaction

1.8

1:2

Professional Prestige

3

Job Security

9

Monetary

1.8

1:2

Intellectual Challenge

3

Promotion

9

Promotion

2.1

1:2

Monetary

2

Monetary

9

Professional Prestige

2.1

1:2

Recognition

2

Personal Satisfaction

8

Recognition

2.4

3:0

Job Security

1

Professional Prestige

8

Teaching Development

2.6

2:1

Promotion

1

Recognition

7

Job Security

2.6

1:2

Discussion

The data collection and analysis resulted in three ranked order listings of motivational factors. The first listing resulted from the frequency of representation on surveys extracted from the literature. The top five in order of appearance from this source were: Release time, Personal satisfaction, Teaching development, Technical support, and Professional prestige. This order was used to construct the focus group survey used in a convenience sample of senior faculty members to determine motivational factors that might influence participation in asynchronous online distance learning programs.

Based on the raw scores in the category of agreement (Strongly Agree plus Agree) reflected through a Likert-type scale at the completion of the survey administered to the convenience sample the top-five ranked order listing appeared in the following order: 1) Release Time. 2) Teaching Development. 3) Intellectual Challenge. 4) Technical Support. 5) Job Security. When compared with the first listing, the raw scores from convenience sample respondents correlated with three motivational factors as follows: Release Time, Teaching Development, and Technical Support.

The weighted mean averages from the convenience sample survey rendered yet a third ranked order, which corresponded with motivational factors listed from the literature in three of the factors, as well with the categories including Release Time, Technical Support, and Personal Satisfaction. When the weighted average scores were compared with the raw tabulated data from the convenience sample, the three corresponding motivational factors among the top five were Release Time, Technical Support, and Intellectual Challenge.

Summary of Results

A comparison among all three motivational factor arrays based on classification of motivational factors as being extrinsic or intrinsic showed three intrinsic items in the literature sample, along with two extrinsic category items reflected in both the raw data and weighted average top five rankings. The two motivational factors representing the extrinsic category present in all three listings were Release Time and Technical Support. There were no other replications of extrinsic motivational factors that were present among the top five rankings within the three groupings. In the convenience sample raw score data ranking the factor of Job Security appeared in fifth place and Monetary Rewards fell within the fourth place category of the weighted average ranking.

The thematic patterns established by the three listings that resulted from data collection and analysis appears at first-face to possess consistency. While minor variations resulted in rank order listings, in particular among the top five motivational factors, there were no drastic incompatibilities. In fact, the demonstrated duplication of factors present among the three listings seems to indicate prima facie correlation among the variables. It is important to note that t-tests and analysis of variance (ANOVA) were precluded from the data analysis due to the small sample size and convenience criteria used to identify respondents.

Conclusions

The research objectives for this study were focused on the identification of motivational factor criteria that may influence senior-level faculty member participation in asynchronous online course delivery programs. Additionally, they called for the application of these factors as influencers for participation OLE programs for the purpose if developing a survey instrument format for use by academic administrators to ascertain such motivational influencers.

A review of the literature provided a first frequency distribution of motivational factors that were relevant to samples cited in the related published studies. This distribution contained an equal number of motivational factors representing extrinsic and intrinsic classifications. This listing was used to construct the content of a survey sample used to collect data for later analysis.

While the sample is not of proportion to determine inferential findings, the conclusions of the data analysis were surprisingly consistent with the findings from the literature. Also, a comparison of data analysis between raw score data and weighted average calculations yielded consistent results, demonstrating that skewed raw data were not dramatically influential on the outcomes of the analysis.

Implications

A thematic pattern evident in the results of this study was the balance of intrinsic and extrinsic classification of motivational factors, especially among the top five categories among the three ranked distributions. Of particular interest is the distinct possibility that two of the listed extrinsic factors may, in fact, have intrinsic perceptual values among potential OLE participants. As noted previously in the article, the motivational factor labeled "Technical Support" may possess implications as an antecedent to overcoming "technological anxiety" on the part of a potential faculty member participant, which if true, would add a situational intrinsic perception to that motivational influencer. A similar scenario may be true for the extrinsic factor labeled "Release Time", which on its face seems to represent a reduction in tasks, duties and responsibilities. However, the potential OLE participant may interpret this influencer as an opportunity for course development or scholastic endeavors resulting from such a project. In such a case, the motivational factor would be viewed from an intrinsic perspective, as opposed to the extrinsic viewpoint of reduced labor.

A final implication resulting from this study is the development of a format to be used in future surveys among academic administrators to determine those motivational factors that might influence senior faculty members to participate in asynchronous online learning environment delivery method programs. The listing that was established through the ranked order of weighted average respondent frequency distribution may be considered to be an appropriate format of ten motivational factors used to construct future surveys.

Recommendations

Because the literature supports the suggestion to academic administrators that one method of encouraging SLFM participation in OLE programs might include a means of collecting data that is relevant to the perceived needs of that target group, the development of such a method should be devised. Further, based on the review, analysis and summarization of the literature presented in this study; this approach should provoke development of a format to be used in future surveys among academic administrators. These prospective instruments might better direct administrators to determine those motivational factors that influence senior faculty members to participate in asynchronous online learning environment delivery method programs, and ultimately result in equipping institutions to take advantage the expertise of the SFLM in this environment.


References

Betts, K. S. (1998). Factors influencing faculty participation in distance education in post secondary education in the United States: An institutional study. (Doctoral dissertation, The George Washington University). Dissertation Abstracts International: UMI.

Boettcher, J., Conrad, R. (1999). Faculty Guide for Moving Teaching and Learning to the Web. League for Innovation in the Community College. Graduate Extension Study. Newport, RI.

Boschmann, E. (1998). Moving Toward a More Inclusive Reward Structure." The Technology Source, October 1998. Accessed from the WWW; http://ts.mivu.org/default.asp?show=article&id=7

Bower, B.L. (2001). Distance education: Facing the faculty challenge. The Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. IV (II). Accessed from the WWW: http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/summer42/bower42.html

Breiter, D. & Tesone, D.V. (Spring, 2003). An analysis of hotel employees’ motivation using Kovach’s 10 Factor model. Journal of Hospitality Human Resources. (in press).

Chang, V. (1999). Evaluating the effectiveness of online learning using a new web based learning instrument. Proceedings Western Australian Institute for Educational Research Forum. Accessed form the World Wide Web: http://education.curtin.edu.au/waier/forums/1999/cha ng.html

Chizmar, J.F. and Williams, D.B. (2001). What do Faculty Want? Educause. Quarterly. (Spring). Number 1. Retrieved form the World Wide Web: http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eqm0112.pdf

Chizmar, J.F. and Williams, D.B. (2001). Survey from "What do Faculty Want?" Educause. Quarterly (Spring). Number 1. Accessed from the World Wide Web:

http://www.arts.ilstu.edu/CAUSE/survey.htm

Clay, M. (1999). Development of training and support programs for distance education instructors.The Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. 2 (3), Accessed from the WWW: http://www.westga.edu/~distance/clay23 html

Clay, M. (1999). Faculty attitudes toward distance education at the State University of West Georgia. University of West Georgia Distance Learning Report, December (On-line). Accessed from the WWW: http://www.westga.edu/~distance/clay23 html

Giannoni, D.L. (2001). Identifying Motivations of the Senior Level Faculty Member to Support the Design and Delivery of Online Instruction. Unpublished manuscript, Nova Southeastern University at Ft. Lauderdale.

Husmann, D., Miller, M. (2001). Improving Distance Education: Perceptions of Program Administrators.The Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. IV (II). Accessed from the WWW: http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/spring41/husmann41.html

Kettner-Polley, R. (1999). The Making of a Virtual Professor. ALN Magazine. [Online Serial], 3(1). Accessed from the WWW: http://www.aln.org/alnweb/magazine/Vol3_issue1/Kettner-Polley.htm

Maslow, A.H. (1943). Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review. 50 (370-379).

McKenzie, B.K., Mims, N., Bennett, E. & Waugh, M. (2000). Needs, concerns and practices of online instructors.The Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. III (III).Accessed from the WWW: http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/fall33/mckenzie33.html

Paloff, R., Pratt, K. (2001). Lessons from the Cyberspace Classroom; The Realities of Online Teaching. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, Ca

Passmore, D. (2000). Impediments to adoption of web-based course delivery among university faculty. ALN Magazine. [Online Serial], 4 (2). Accessed from the World Wide Web:http://www.alr.org/alnweb/magazine/vol4issue 2/passmore.html

Rahman, M. (2001). Faculty Recruitment Strategies for Online Programs.The Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. IV (IV). Accessed from the WWW:http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/winter44/rahman44.html

Rockwell, S.K., Schauer, J., Fritz, S.M. & Marx, D.B. (2001). Incentives and obstacles influencing higher education faculty and administrators to teach via distance. The Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. II (III). Accessed from the WWW: http://www.westga.edu/~distance/rockwell24.html

Schifter, C. (2000). Compensation Models in Distance Education.The Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. III (I). Accessed from the WWW: http://www.westga.edu/~distance/schifter31.html

Schifter, C. (2000). Faculty Participation in Asynchronous Learning Networks: A Case Study of Motivating and Inhibiting Factors. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks. 5(2). Accessed from the WWW: http://www.aln.org/alnweb/journal/jaln-vol4issue1.htm

Schulman, A.H., & Sims, R.L. (1999.) Learning in an online format versus an in-class format: An experimental study. THE Journal. 26, (11,) 54-56.

Schrum, L. (2002 ) Dimension and Strategies for Online Success: Voices from Experienced Educators. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks. 6(1/6). Accessed from the WWW: http://www.aln.org/alnweb/journal/Vol6_issue1/6_1schrum.htm

Stake, J., Hoffman, F. (2001). Changes in Student social Attitudes, Activism, and Personal Confidence in Higher Education: The Role of Women’s Studies. American Educational Research Journal. 38, (2) 411-436

Tesone, D.V., Fischler, A.S., Giannoni, D.L. (2002). The Force-Field Risk Model of Catalytic Agentry for Academic Leaders. Journal of Academic Leadership. (Under review).

Van Der Velde, R.J. & Rawl, C.D. (2000). Building a faculty development institute: A case study. Journal of Distance Learning Administration. III (III). Accessed from the WWW: http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/fall33/vandervelde33.html


Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Volume VI, NumberI, Spring 2003
State University of West Georgia, Distance Education Center
Back to the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration Contents