Factors Motivating and Inhibiting Faculty in Offering Their Courses via Distance Education
Problem to be Investigated
While many colleges and universities have moved forward with implementing distance education (D.E.) programs, administrators still find difficulty in getting faculty to participate willingly. An understanding of faculty motivators and inhibitors, especially faculty perception of the “hassle factor” involved with D.E., will give administrators an edge in D.E. implementation. This study also provides important information that will help administrators understand why some faculty members are more open to involvement with D.E.
The purpose of this study was to discover what factors may motivate faculty members at small, private colleges to adopt distance education, as well as what factors may inhibit that adoption. The college studied is located in the southeast and is a relative latecomer to the distance education arena. In 2003, the college Board of Trustees asked the administration to provide information regarding degree completion and distance learning educational programs for the next meeting. This is a tuition-driven institution, and when enrollment dips substantially, the college budget suffers. Distance education typically has offered new revenue streams for colleges that have adopted it (Diversifying Campus Revenue Streams: Opportunities and Risks, James C. Hearn, 2003).
The research question was: What are the factors that will motivate or inhibit the participation of small, private college faculty in offering their courses via distance education? For the purpose of this study, the term distance education refers to instruction in which both distance and time separate the teacher from the students, as in an asynchronous distance education model.
The phrase “factors that motivate” describes any phenomenon that would cause a faculty member to have a positive attitude toward delivering his/her course content via distance education technology. The phrase “factors that inhibit” describes any phenomenon that would cause a faculty member to have a negative attitude toward delivering his/her course content via distance education technology. These factors might be based on facts or merely on impressions of what each faculty member feels they would experience should they deliver their course to distance learners. The emotional responses of faculty are more important in this regard than are hard facts about the success or failure of distance education (Black, 1992).
Background and Review of Related Literature
While implementation of distance education programs certainly involves information technology, what is more important is the “people variables” (Levine, et al, 1996). According to Bromley (1998), administrators can be too hasty in pushing DE, treating technology as “something apart from the human world, instead of as a social phenomenon.” In the case of this college, the people who will adopt or reject distance education initially are the faculty. Relevant literature discusses factors that will motivate or inhibit faculty participation in distance education.
It is critical to determine what factors will motivate faculty participation. Faculty who are early adopters of technology and already make use of substantial educational technology may be predisposed to using distance education (Jacobsen, 1998) while those who are not early adopters may require other motivating factors. Those other motivators generally parallel the same reasons why faculty teach traditional courses--for intrinsic rewards (Parker, 2003). Parker identified self-satisfaction and flexible scheduling among those intrinsic rewards. Rockwell et al (2002) discovered that the primary incentives for faculty involvement centered on personal rewards, including opportunities to provide innovative instruction and self-gratification or fulfilling a personal desire to teach.
Intrinsic rewards were also the focus of Wolcott’s (1999) study in which most faculty members were not motivated to teach distance education courses by promise of stipend, merit pay, promotion or award, but instead to fulfill several personal or socially derived benefits, the top five of which are: a) the ability to reach new audiences that cannot attend class on campus; b) the opportunity to develop new ideas; c) a personal motivation to use technology; d) an intellectual challenge; and e) overall job satisfaction. She also noted that faculty saw distance education as an opportunity to carve out a professional niche for themselves, increase their visibility and reputation on both the state and national levels, establish and maintain “critical links” off-campus, and make industry contacts that led to consulting. A “side benefit” of distance education is its value in assisting faculty members build careers on the added promotion and image they get from teaching a course. Rockwell et al (2002) noted that there are multiple extrinsic motivations for faculty including achieving recognition for their work (including peer recognition), extending educational opportunities beyond the traditional institution, decreased workload and receiving release time for preparation.
Although Rockwell et al (1999) asserted that monetary awards were not significant incentives at a mid-west land grant university, research by Parker (2003) said otherwise, indicating that compensation is indeed an incentive. More broadly speaking, faculty are concerned that good teaching be rewarded whether in traditional or distance education environments.
While intrinsic and extrinsic motivators are more powerful forces in predicting whether a faculty member will participate in Distance education than are the inhibitors that might keep them from participating (Cook, 2003), several inhibitors or disincentives in the literature are still worth noting. Wilson (2001) found faculty unsure of the efficacy of distance education, ranking it last behind the various forms of one-on-one instruction and face-to-face classroom instruction. Wilson also found another common inhibitor was the lack of technical experience, and that technology issue was a common theme in the literature. Faculty frequently expressed inhibitions about not possessing the necessary and progressive technological savvy or having the requisite technical support for themselves (Bower, 2001; Pachnowski & Jurcyzk, 2003, Rockwell et al, 1999).
Several inhibitors stem from faculty concerns about time requirements (Rockwell et al, 1999). They may have valid reason for concern; Pachnowski & Jurcyzk (2003) showed that while course preparation time does drop for repeat distance education courses, up to thirty percent of faculty reported needing significant additional hours of preparation time even in their third semester of teaching the course (2003). Developing a distance education course takes 2-3 times as long as a traditional course and teaching the course takes substantially greater time than a traditional one (AAUP, 2002). Wolcott & Betts (1999) noted the increased amount of time and effort faculty members were required to commit to preparation.
Another disincentive relates to faculty-perceived lack of recognition for the time and effort distance education demands (Wolcott & Betts, 1999). Furthermore, faculty who do participate in distance education or who are considering participating perceive that such activity will be unrewarded and unsupported by the university infrastructure (Wilson, 2001; Dillon & Walsh, 1992). The lack of reward is sometimes, but not always, related to remuneration. Wolcott (1999) found that compensation for outreach teaching including distance education was not adequate. However, in relation to motivation, faculty members were less interested in payment than in an acknowledgment of their work. Finally, faculty may be worried about developing distance education courses on their own time with few institutional resources. Without assistance from instructional designers or graphic designers, faculty may feel that the task is too daunting (O’Quinn & Corry, 2002).
Some faculty inhibition comes due to the perceived lack of face-to-face interaction with students and the preference for traditional student-teacher interaction (Wolcott, 1999; Wilson, 2001). However, there is substantial evidence that the amount of interaction, at least with computer-based distance education, actually increases. Because of the individualized nature of e-mail communication, interactions were more numerous and personalized than in many traditional courses (AAUP, 2002.) Bradburn (2002) echoes this in her finding that faculty teaching distance education classes held more office hours per week than those who did not teach distance education. Ironically, the increase in student-teacher interaction may be viewed as a disincentive.
Ownership of intellectual property is a major concern and inhibiting factor among faculty (Bower, 2001). According to Maitland (1998), the NEA has lobbied consistently for legislation protecting the rights of educators to their own work. Ownership of faculty created websites and videotapes of lectures, as well as course notes suddenly have an increased value now that they can be distributed electronically. Furthermore, distance education courses are often treated by universities like inventions, with the result that the university treats them more like items for which they own the patent and for which they will return a portion of the royalties to the faculty member. This is in contrast to the traditional classroom where the faculty members have the full rights to publish their materials and all royalties return to the faculty member (Estabrook, 1999).
Wolcott (1999) noted inhibitions related to distance education vary according to the stage of the faculty member’s career. Senior faculty have less to lose; involvement doesn’t cost them as much as it might cost a junior faculty member. They are freer to make the choice to participate in innovative practices and are more immune to the risks that such investments might pose in terms of career advancement. Rockwell et al echo the career concerns, identifying faculty wondering about the effect of distance education on promotion and tenure (1999).
Fortunately, faculty and administrators appear to be equally aware of all the factors that inhibit participation in distance education. The need to develop incentives, support, training, quality control, and to address career advancement issues are concerns shared by both faculty and administrators (Dooley & Murphrey, 2000).
This study applied what is known generally about faculty participation in distance education to a small, private college in the southeast. Therefore the purpose of this study was to determine: What are the factors that will motivate or inhibit the participation of faculty in offering their courses via distance education?
A survey was used to measure the factors that will motivate or inhibit the participation of small, private college faculty in offering their courses via distance education. The instrument was administered at the beginning of a normally-scheduled faculty meeting. It was made clear to the faculty members that they were in no way required to fill out the surveys, that their identities would remain hidden, and that although the survey was not commissioned by school administrators the results would be shared with them. Faculty members are quite accustomed to filling out surveys of varying types at these meetings, so this did not pose a threat.
Not all faculty members were present when the survey was implemented. This mortality threat was controlled because the presiding administrator took attendance at the meeting and determined from that list the names of those not present at the meeting. Surveys were sent to those not in attendance through the college post office. These delivered surveys were accompanied by a written explanation identical to the one given to the faculty members present at the meeting.
Questions regarding age, gender, years teaching, and technological competency and open-ended questions aside, the survey consisted of statements for which subjects were asked to select a response based on a five-point Likert scale. This Likert scale was assigned a numerical value between one and five, with assigned as follows: Strongly Disagree: 1, Disagree: 2, Neutral: 3, Agree: 4, Strongly Agree: 5.
To determine the reliability of the instrument, a pilot administration was given to a group of three faculty members, then administered again to that same group after several days. The percentage of same answers from the first to second administration was calculated to determine test-retest reliability and was above 90%.
Construct-related evidence of validity was used to determine the validity of this instrument. The content was shown to be consistent with theory as shown by expert opinion. To achieve this, the instrument was sent to two professionals in the field of distance education who have experience starting distance education programs and working with faculty adopters. The instrument was also reviewed by the college’s Institutional Review Board.
Some faculty members may have a pronounced dislike for the changes involved in implementing distance education. These dislikes may be based on the real or perceived amount of work involved, the feeling that distance education lacks validity, or a dislike of change of any kind at a traditional, residential-only school like this one. These attitudes might have caused some to want to purposely sabotage the results.
To control for this threat of subject attitude, I made it clear that this survey was not coming from the administration, but was merely part of my master’s degree graduation requirements. It was made clear that the results would be shared with the administration. The subjects were also made aware that the results of this survey would be helpful to the institution as it makes decisions related to distance education.
The accessible population to which my research may be generalized is the faculty members who were present at the faculty meeting at which the survey was implemented as well as those faculty members who were not present but who completed the survey at another time. The target population to which my research may be generalized is the faculty at this small, private college in the southeast. The results of this research will have ecological validity for schools similar in nature, which is to say small, private liberal arts colleges.
The faculty at the sample college ranges from thirty-two to seventy-two years of age, and includes sixty-seven males and twenty-four females. Ninety of the faculty members are Caucasian, with the sole minority member being Asian (a native of Korea.) Sixty-three faculty and three administrators responded to the survey, yielding a 70.2% response rate. The survey respondents included 41 men (62%) and 20 women (30%). There were five invalid answers, representing 8% of the sample. One noteworthy element was the large percentage of older faculty. Sixty-four percent (64%) were 50 or older. The highest percentage of respondents (45%) had 20+ years of teaching and 63% were tenured. Only five respondents, representing 8% of the faculty, had previously taught a distance education course. The percent who had personally taken a distance education course was also 8%.
Results Related to Technological Competency
The first thirteen questions of the survey employed true or false questions exploring both the subject’s familiarity with technology and his or her current use of technology. Based on answers to these questions, a “technological competency” score was created. This score was used to determine whether expertise with technology was a motivating or inhibiting factor for distance education. Three categories were created: “novice,” “competent” and “expert.” Faculty who scored 0-4 were classified “novice.” Those who scored 5-8 were classified “competent.” Those who scored 9-13 were classified “expert.” As shown in Figure 1, nineteen (19) faculty representing 29% of the subjects scored in the novice category, 36 faculty (54%) were in the competent category, and 9 faculty (14%) were in the expert category. Two subjects did not answer this set of thirteen questions.
Question 18 stated “If teaching a distance education course paid more than a traditional course, I’d be more inclined to develop one.” The mean for novices was 2.84 whereas the mean for the experts was 3.67 (See Table 1).Table 1
Attitudes Towards Pay Based on Technological Competency
Attitudes Toward Losing Personal Contact Based on Technological Competency
Question 20 stated “Losing on-site, live face-to-face contact with students is reason enough to not get involved in distance education.” The mean for experts was 2.89 while the mean for novices was 3.47 (See Table 2).
Question 22 stated “A professor’s workload is typically less demanding in distance education courses than in traditional courses.” Experts strongly disagreed with this statement. Novices also disagreed but not quite as strongly (see Table 3).
Attitudes Toward Faculty Workload Based on Technological Competency
Questions 14-32 of the survey were designed to assess the factors that might motivate or inhibit faculty in offering their courses via distance education. The most significant of these results are outlined below. This data is available in full in Appendix B.
Results Related to Motivating Factors
Question fifteen stated “If the college provided instructor training for distance education, I would be more inclined to offer courses using it.” Forty percent (40%) of faculty “agreed” with this statement, and 12.31% “strongly agreed.” In this case, the mean (3.18) is skewed by a few very negative responses, since the mode and the median are both 4.0.
Question sixteen stated “A summer stipend equivalent to one course would be a sufficient incentive for me to develop a course via distance education.” Over forty percent (43.75%) “agreed” and 7.81% “strongly agreed.” In this case, the mean (3.2) is skewed by several very negative responses.
Question seventeen stated “Release time in the form of a one course load reduction during the development stage would be a sufficient incentive for me to develop a distance education course.” Slightly more than forty percent (40.63%) “agreed” and 7.81% “strongly agreed.”
Question twenty-seven stated “Implementing a few distance education courses will fundamentally change the nature of this college for the worse.” More than twelve percent (12.5%) “strongly disagreed” and 43.75% “disagreed.”
Question twenty-eight stated “This college should add distance education course options for our undergraduate, residential population.” More than eighteen percent (18.46%) “strongly disagreed” and 33.85% “disagreed.”
Question twenty-nine stated “This college should add distance education courses for new, nonresidential student populations whom we do not currently serve.” More than thirty-three percent (33.85) “agreed” and 20% strongly agreed.
Question thirty stated “A well-managed distance education program would bring positive attention to our college.” More than thirteen percent (13.85%) “strongly agreed” and 56.92% “agreed.”
Question thirty-one stated “A well-managed distance education program would bring increased revenue to our college.” More than half of the faculty (50.78%) “agreed” and 18.46% “strongly agreed.”
Question thirty-two stated “A well-managed distance education program would bring additional ministry opportunities.” More than thirty-seven percent (37.5%) of the faculty “strongly agreed” and 14.06% “agreed.”
Results Related to Inhibiting Factors
Several individual questions in the survey addressed factors that might inhibit faculty from offering their courses via distance education (See Appendix B).
Question 21 stated “If I were to teach a distance education class, I feel that my role in the student’s education would decrease whereas the role of technology would increase.” More than half of the faculty (53.13%) “agreed” and an additional 21.88% “strongly agreed.”
Question 22 stated “A professor’s workload is typically less demanding in distance education courses than in traditional courses.” More than a fourth of the faculty (26.98%) “strongly disagreed” and an additional 34.92% “disagreed.”
Question 25 stated “It would take a lot of time and effort to repurpose a course I currently teach into a format appropriate for delivery via distance education.” Exactly fifty percent (50%) of the faculty “agreed” and 31.25% “strongly agreed.”
Question 26 stated “In distance education, technical problems during course delivery would be frequent and frustrating.” Again, exactly fifty percent of the faculty 50% “agreed” and 10.94% “strongly agreed.”
Results by Age
Another way of considering the data was to compare the faculty members by age range. When comparing the responses of the youngest age-range with the oldest, some noteworthy results became apparent for several of the survey questions. Question 18 stated “If teaching a distance education course paid more than a traditional course, I’d be more inclined to develop one.” The mean for the youngest faculty group was 4.13 while the mean for the oldest faculty group was 3.13 (See Table 4).
Attitudes Toward Pay as Motivator Based on Age Ranges.
Question 21 stated “If I were to teach a distance education class, I feel that my role in the student’s education would decrease whereas the role of technology would increase.” Both younger and older faculty groups responded similarly (See Table 5).
Attitudes Toward Workload Based on Age.
Question 23 stated “A student’s workload is typically more demanding in distance education than traditional courses.” Younger faculty reported a mean of 2.88 while the mean for older faculty was 3.36 (See Table 6).
Attitudes Toward Student Workload Based on Age.
Question 32 stated “A well-managed distance education program would bring additional ministry opportunities.” In response to this question, younger faculty reported a mean of 4. Older faculty reported a mean of 3.27 (Table 7).
Attitudes Toward Ministry Opportunities Based on Age
Results of Open-ended Responses
The survey included two open-ended questions whose responses are included in Appendix C. Of the 66 returned surveys, 35 respondents (53%) answered question 32, which reads: “State any reason(s) you would give in support of this college implementing distance education.” Of the 35 respondents, 14, or 40% cited concerns centering on a need to reach more/new students. Seven (7), or 20%, cited financial gain for the institution, and 5, or 14%, cited a need to embrace technology (Figure 2).
Reasons to support D.E.
Of the 66 returned surveys, 38 respondents answered question 33, which reads “State any reason(s) you would give for not supporting the implementation of distance education.” Of the 38 respondents, 11, or 29%, cited a fear that distance education would diminish community involvement on campus, personal contact, spiritual development and one-to-one contact. Nine, or 24%, cited their feelings that the institution is currently behind with technology and does not excel with technology. Four, or 11%, stated that distance education would detract from the college’s historic goals as a residential liberal arts college.Figure 3
Reasons Not to Support D.E.
Results Related to Tenure Status
The data showed no appreciable difference between tenured and non-tenured faculty except on question 14. That question “My teaching portfolio and vita would be enhanced if I were to teach a distance education course.” Non-tenured faculty members were more inclined to agree with this statement than were tenured faculty (See Table 8).
Attitudes Toward DE Enhancing Portfolio and Vita Based on Tenure Status.
Results Related to Academic Department
When scores were aggregated by academic department, question 27 yielded a noteworthy result. This question stated “Implementing a few distance education courses will fundamentally change the nature of this college for the worse.” Five departments disagreed with this statement and therefore seemed more optimistic about distance education’s potential. They included Education, Philosophy, Communication Arts, Health/Physical Education/Recreation and Christian Ministries. It should be noted that I looked at only those departments that had two or more representatives who responded to the survey (See Table 9).
Departments That are Optimistic About D.E.
Health, Physical Ed., Recreation
Results Aggregated by Question Type
When all questions were aggregated by type, four broad categories of questions could be assessed. Questions 14-19 relating to personal implications (my teaching portfolio/vita, instructor training, assistance for course preparation, summer stipend, higher course pay, release time) were called the “self and support” category. Questions 20-21, 23-24 related to changing roles for both students and faculty (losing face-to-face contact with students, technology becoming more important than human instructor, student’s workload expectations, faculty control of curriculum) were called the “faculty/student roles” category. Questions 22, 25 and 26 dealing with the perceived downsides of distance education (including increased faculty workload, time and effort required to implement D.E., and potential technology problems) were called the “hassle factor” category. Questions 27-32 related to the value of distance education for the college (whether it will change the nature of the college, adding D.E. offerings for current undergraduates, adding D.E. offerings for new populations, P.R. value for college, increased revenue, additional ministry opportunities) were named the “institutional impact” category. Given these four aggregated categories, the most significant inhibiting factor for faculty participating in distance education was the “hassle factor” category. The mean of the means for the hassle factor questions was 2.4. The mean of the medians for the hassle factor was 2 and the mean of the modes was also 2 (See Table 10).
Aggregated Questions by Category
Category names and associated questions
Self and Support
Faculty/Student Roles Questions
20, 21, 23, 24
Hassle Factor Questions
22, 25, 26
Mean of means
Mean of medians
Mean of modes
Summary and Conclusions
The majority of the faculty at this small, private liberal arts college had had limited experience with teaching or learning using distance education. In spite of that inexperience, faculty across all categories consistently viewed distance education as a lot of work. In fact, the “hassle factor” (related to increased faculty workload, time and effort required to implement D.E., and the potential for frequent frustrations with technology) was the single biggest inhibitor for faculty. Either faculty have read some of the literature or heard horror stories from colleagues at other schools. The literature on D.E. would support the truth of the “hassle factor.”
Faculty members who are novices with technology are unlikely and/or unwilling candidates for teaching distance education. It may be that novices believe that their lack of experience with technology makes them poor choices for pioneering distance education efforts, and that is most likely correct. Being a novice is itself a significant inhibiting factor. Experts are more likely to possess the skills necessary to pioneer distance education, but their expert status makes them more aware of technological challenges and time requirements, and therefore may make them reticent to step forward unless there are financial incentives.
Younger faculty, in general, are more motivated by financial incentives and may be willing to pioneer distance education courses if offered additional pay, summer stipends or release time.
Both younger and older faculty members think their role as teachers will be diminished as the role of technology increases. The literature suggests that the role of the teacher will change but not necessarily diminish. While it is true that the nature of the interaction with students becomes computer-mediated, the quantity of interaction with individual students often increases. On a related note, while some faculty are concerned about the loss of face-to-face contact with students, those with expert status seem to understand that other forms of technology-based “contact” with students (i.e. e-mail, chat rooms, etc.) might be not ideal but workable alternatives to face-to-face contact. At the very least, the experts do not seem to believe that the loss of face-to-face contact is a good enough reason to avoid online delivery of courses.
Younger faculty are more optimistic than their senior faculty colleagues about ministry opportunities that D.E. might bring to the college. The 30-39 year old group, although numerically small, have no doubt been required to use the computer and Internet for most, if not all, of their adult lives and have learned that interpersonal communication can occur using computer-mediated communication.
Forty percent of those who responded to the open-ended question about why to implement distance education cited the need to reach more/new students. Some faculty may wish to extend the college’s mission or educational offerings to other groups while other faculty may see increased enrollment as a means to the end of increasing financial stability for the college. An additional 20 percent cited the potential for institutional financial gain, perhaps due to recent budget cuts and salary freezes. This group may see D.E. as an alternative source of income that can be used to support the current traditional approach.
Twenty-nine percent of those who offered reasons not to support D.E. cited a fear that D.E. would diminish community involvement on campus, personal contact, spiritual development and one-on-one contact. This inhibiting factor was also covered by question 20 of the survey, which stated “Losing on-site, live face-to-face contact with students is reason enough to not get involved in distance education.” More than fifty-four percent of faculty either agreed or strongly agreed with this statement. The literature has demonstrated this concern on other college campuses as well. In addition, 24% of faculty responding to this question believe that their college is currently behind in technology and does not excel with it. This could be due to recent budget cuts, internet and e-mail connection problems and perceived understaffing in the institution's Information Technology. Addressing some of these current technology issues might help overcome this inhibiting factor. Of course, addressing that factor might require the very dollars that D.E. is hoped to provide.
This study has one significant limitation. Although the survey asked if faculty had personal experiences with teaching or taking a distance education class, it did not ask whether faculty had had personal experience using Blackboard’s online software for teaching support. If a faculty member’s experiences with Blackboard were negative, this might be an inhibiting factor for D.E. If a faculty member’s experiences with Blackboard were positive, this might serve as a motivating factor for them to develop complete courses online. Further exploration of faculty attitudes toward Blackboard might serve as a preliminary test case for both faculty attitudes toward online teaching and their actual experience with the “hassle factor.”
If college and university administrators wished to pursue D.E., one approach they might take would be to begin with market research, determining what courses students are willing to pay for, then determine the delivery system and provide resources to support it technologically and in course design. Administrators should seek to reduce the hassle factor by ensuring that the delivery technology is sound. Ideally they would also provide financial incentives and release time to motivate faculty.
Unfortunately, that approach is based on an economic model, and turning education into a commodity (which higher education tends to do in this consumer-oriented culture) can come into conflict with classic notions of what it means to offer a liberal arts education. Furthermore, some faculty are genuinely concerned that their college’s historic mission as an undergraduate, residential liberal arts institution is incompatible with distance education (see Appendix C).
The Midwest Higher Education Commission found (Gifford, 1999) that most innovative efforts in higher education today are the product of individual faculty members working alone, with the use of innovative approaches and materials restricted to individual courses. This implies that administrators would be wise to begin by identifying individuals likely to innovate in distance education. Those individuals will tend to be younger, in departments where faculty are less likely to see D.E. as threatening to the overall institution, and who are at least competent or ideally expert in their use of technology. On the downside, the same Commission found that faculty’s innovative concepts were largely disconnected from a coherent theory of instruction. This Commission finding suggests that if administrators seek innovators to develop online instruction, they would be wise to do so within a clearly articulated educational philosophy.
AAUP (American Association of University Professors) Special Committee on Distance Education and Intellectual Property Issues (2002). Suggestions and guidelines: sample language for institutional policies and contract language. American Association of University Professors Web site. Retrieved March 12, 2004 from http://www.aaup.org/Issues/DistanceEd/Archives/speccmt/deguide.htm.
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Cook, Ruth Gannon (2003). Factors that motivate or inhibit faculty participation in distance education: An exploratory study. UMI ProQuest Digital Disserations. Retrieved January 23, 2004 from http://wwwlib.umi.com/dissertations/fullcit/3094001.
Dooley, Kim E., Murphrey, Theresa P. (2000). How the perspectives of administrators, faculty and support units impact the rate of distance education adoption. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 3(4). Retrieved March 12, 2004 from http://www.westga.edu/distance/ojdla/winter34/dooley34.html.
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Pachnowski, Lynne M., Jurczyk, Joseph P., (2003). Perceptions of faculty on the effect of distance learning technology on faculty preparation time. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 6(03). Retrieved March 31, 2004 from http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/fall63/pachnowski64.html.
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Wilson, Carol (2001). Faculty attitudes about distance learning. Educause Quarterly, November 2, 2001.
Wolcott, Linda L., Betts, Kristen S. (1999). What’s in it for me? Incentives for faculty participation in distance education. Journal of Distance education, 14(2). Retrieved March 12, 2004 from http://cade.athabascau.ca/vol14.2/wolcott_et_al.html.
Data Collection Survey
Gender: M F
Age: 20-30 30-40 40-50 50-60 60+
Years of teaching experience: 0-2 3-5 6-9 10-14 15-19 20+
Tenured: yes no
True or False
1. I have taken a distance education course at the undergraduate or graduate level.
2. I have had at least one positive experience with teaching a distance education course in the past.
3. I use several forms of technology in my classroom for teaching.
4. I can create my own presentation graphics (for instance, using PowerPoint)
5. I use email for most of my correspondence with my students.
6. I am able to scan photographs into digital files.
7. I am able to manipulate digital images using software.
8. I am able to record and use digital sound in my presentations.
9. I am comfortable connecting a computer to various output devices.
10. I can create my own web pages.
11. I am familiar with teaching methods appropriate for distance education.
12. I could confidently deliver a course over the web.
13. I have taught a distance education course in the past.
Likert scale questions: strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, strongly agree
14. My teaching portfolio and vita would be enhanced if I were to teach a distance education course.
15. If the college provided instructor training for distance education, I would be more inclined to offer courses using it.
16. A summer stipend equivalent to one course would be a sufficient incentive for me to develop a course via distance education.
17. Release time in the form of a one course load reduction during the development stage would be a sufficient incentive for me to develop a distance education course.
18. If teaching a distance education course paid more than a traditional course, I’d be more inclined to develop one.
19. If I had assistance from distance education specialists, graphic designers, and/or instructional designers, I would be more inclined to develop a distance education course.
20. Losing on-site, live face-to-face contact with students is reason enough to not get involved in distance education.
21. If I were to teach a distance education class, I feel that my role in the student’s education would decrease whereas the role of technology would increase.
22. A professor’s workload is typically less demanding in distance education courses than in traditional courses.
23. A student’s workload is typically more demanding in distance education than traditional courses.
24. If I were to teach a distance education class, my control of my curriculum might diminish.
25. It would take a lot of time and effort to repurpose a course I currently teach into a format appropriate for delivery via distance education.
26. In distance education, technical problems during course delivery would be frequent and frustrating.
27. Implementing a few distance education courses will fundamentally change the nature of (name of college removed) for the worse.
28. (Name of college removed) should add distance education course options for our undergraduate, residential population.
29. (Name of college removed) should add distance education courses for new, nonresidential student populations whom we do not currently serve.
30. A well-managed distance education program would bring positive attention to (name of college removed)
31. A well-managed distance education program would bring increased revenue to (name of college removed).
32. A well-managed distance education program would bring additional ministry opportunities to (name of college removed).
33. State any reason(s) you would give in support of (name of college removed) implementing distance education.
34. State any reason(s) you would give for not supporting the implementation of distance education.
Question Mean Median Mode Standard Deviation 14 My teaching portfolio and vita would be enhanced if I were to teach a distance education course. 3.05 3 3 1.16 15 If the college provided instructor training for Distance education, I would be more inclined to offer courses using it. 3.18 4 4 1.27 16 A summer stipend equivalent to one course would be a sufficient incentive for me to develop a course via Distance education. 3.20 4 4 1.18 17 Release time in the form of a one course load reduction during the development stage would be a sufficient incentive for me to develop a Distance education course. 3.22 3 4 1.12 18 If teaching a Distance education course paid more than a traditional course, I’d be more inclined to develop one. 3.25 3 4 1.17 19 If I had assistance from Distance education specialists, graphic designers, and/or instructional designers, I would be more inclined to develop a Distance education course. 3.59 4 4 1.20 20 Losing on-site, live face-to-face contact with students is reason enough to not get involved in Distance education. 3.41 4 4 1.18 21 If I were to teach a Distance education class, I feel that my role in the student’s education would decrease whereas the role of technology would increase. 3.80 4 4 0.98 22 A professor’s workload is typically less demanding in distance education courses than in traditional courses. 2.22 2 2 1.01 23 A student’s workload is typically more demanding in distance education than traditional courses. 3.02 3 3 0.89 24 If I were to teach a Distance education class, my control of my curriculum might diminish. 2.83 3 3 0.98 25 It would take a lot of time and effort to repurpose a course I currently teach into a format appropriate for delivery via Distance education. 4.02 4 4 0.93 26 In Distance education, technical problems during course delivery would be frequent and frustrating. 3.64 4 4 0.78 27 Implementing a few Distance education courses will fundamentally change the nature of (name of college removed) for the worse. 2.64 2 2 1.16 28 (Name of college removed) should add Distance education course options for our undergraduate, residential population. 2.62 2 2 1.16 29 (Name of college removed) should add Distance education courses for new, nonresidential student populations whom we do not currently serve. 3.46 4 4 1.17 30 A well-managed Distance education program would bring positive attention to (name of college removed). 3.72 4 4 0.91 31 A well-managed Distance education program would bring increased revenue to (name of college removed). 3.74 4 4 0.96 32 A well-managed Distance education program would bring additional ministry opportunities. 3.47 4 4 1.02
Question Strongly Disagree
14 14.06 14.06 32.81 31.25 7.81 3.13 15 13.85 18.46 15.38 40.00 12.31 1.54 16 14.06 10.94 23.44 43.75 7.81 3.13 17 10.94 12.50 28.13 40.63 7.81 3.13 18 10.94 12.50 29.69 34.38 12.50 3.13 19 7.81 12.50 15.63 40.63 23.44 3.13 20 4.69 23.44 17.19 35.94 18.75 3.13 21 0.00 17.19 7.81 53.13 21.88 3.13 22 26.98 34.92 30.16 4.76 3.17 4.76 23 1.59 28.57 41.27 23.81 4.76 4.76 24 6.25 34.38 34.38 20.31 4.69 3.13 25 1.56 7.81 9.38 50.00 31.25 3.13 26 0.00 7.81 31.25 50.00 10.94 3.13 27 12.50 43.75 20.31 14.06 9.38 3.13 28 18.46 33.85 18.46 26.15 3.08 1.54 29 7.69 12.31 26.15 33.85 20.00 1.54 30 4.62 3.08 21.54 56.92 13.85 1.54 31 3.08 7.69 20.00 50.77 18.46 1.54 32 6.25 6.25 35.94 37.50 14.06 3.13
Note: Questions 33 and 34 were open-ended questions. Some respondents chose not to answer these questions, others answered only one or the other, and still others responded with one or multiple answers to each. Multiple answers from any one subject are grouped together.Question 33: State any reason(s) you would give in support of (name of college removed) implementing distance education.
- Technology is an integral part of our lives and it is imperative that we embrace it for educational purposes if (name of college removed) is going to impact the 21st Century.
- Education delivery across the nation has and is changing. We are dated in response to “life-long learning,” a quote we espouse openly.
- It would broaden our exposure and outreach.
- Will it detract from our traditional program? Could we give a diploma which indicates it was earned in the distance/non-traditional program?
- Drawing attention to the college.
- New opportunity for (name of college removed) to reach out to a new constituency.
- Do it in a way as to net significant profit for (name of college removed) and make our Xtn (sic) lib arts perspective more available to non res. students.
- Competitive advantage. Failing to do so could make us increasingly irrelevant in higher education. Extending the mission and ministry of (name of college removed).
- Could offer opportunity to reach professional students and those working in missions. We would need some on-site elements to the program for instance…summer intensives.
- Keeps (name of college removed) competitive w/other schools.
- Provides service to others. Help the institution financially.
- Carefully controlled - keeps us current with technological delivery and would seem to reach a niché in today’s market.
- It would allow (name of college removed) to be on the cutting edge in this area of education.
- We wish to be more comprehensive in our outreach and more financially prudent.
- Increased revenue and exposure for the College.
- Students expect it – and have it at many other (growing) institutions comparable to (name of college removed).
- More and more students expect the convenience – especially graduate students. It is an educational trend that is here to stay. We should explore what courses can BEST delivered this way and try a few courses.
- Benefit to non-traditional student populations.
- Economic benefits.
- The main arguments I would offer are included in the survey. Overall, I support the idea of limited distance education offerings…but only if our regular full-time faculty are heavily involved in the course development, deliver and quality control.
- For students that need to repeat a course or students that could work to relieve some of the requirement courses.
- Potential for reaching students not currently enrolled.
- Assist students in completing required, core curriculum.
- I think distance education courses could be a good opportunity to reach a new population, thereby increasing our visibility and generating revenue. I am very interested in technology in education and am generally quite supportive of distance education initiatives. My response on Questions 14-21 are neutral or negative because of what I teach. While I strongly support distance ed in general, I don’t think it is feasible in my own area-undergraduate foreign language courses.
- I do not support it.
- More options for students.
- Contacts with people who can’t come to campus.
- It’s a fad.
- More ministry opportunities. More service to community.
- I need more info to answer this question.
- I support the implementation of distance learning to reach a currently unserved population, outside our residential population. D.L. offers outreach opportunities as well as reaches an untapped resource.
- We could provide continuing education at a reasonable cost to our graduates and others.
- Additional revenue.
Question 34: State any reason(s) you would give for not supporting the implementation of Distance education.
- Provided opportunities for individuals all over the world to experience (name of college removed) from afar.
- It would be essential that (name of college removed) provide enough curriculum development resources and technical support services to make this a quality learning experience.
- We do a mediocre job of supporting technology already (hand-drawn frown face). I have a computer with Windows 98. My classroom has a DVD player that will not play more modern DVD’s. It is often difficult to even check-out a faculty lap-top.
- Diminish community involvement on campus.
- I have a fear that this kind of program could water-down (name of college removed) high standards of academy.
- We should not do something poorly – that’s all.
- Infrastructure requirements. Personnel requirements.
- Technical challenges – we are understaffed in I.S. already – (they wouldn’t be in a position to support us.)
- Lack of tech support and hardware/software.
- Not to lose personal contact with students and reduce residential student count.
- Do we have the financial means to pursue this area of ed.?
- I much prefer the environment of the traditional classroom. I am also frustrated w/ the general expectation of distance learners that online courses are easier.
- Services (currently) and equipment is meager!
- Potential for undermining residential academic program with its commitment to develop the whole person. Increased risk of jeopardizing (name of college removed) academic reputation, by engaging in programs that could water-down the curriculum. Could have unintended negative effect on residential enrollment.
- We need to move very slowly in this. Our college fulfills a niche in its person-to-person, community centered education.
- I am not sure that sufficient funding could be appropriated to make it top-notch. Current support for existing on campus resources is low-end.
- Face-to-face education provides more opportunity for building strong community and spiritual development. God with us.
- Distraction from historic goals, purpose. Diversion of resources and administrative energies.
- Lack of personal attention to student’s needs. Lack of involvement of students with chapel, campus community, etc.
- It might change our core values – I’m very concerned about that.
- I think the stated concern that heavy reliance on distance education (for financial reasons utilizing adjunct faculty) might lead to mission drift and loss of “fit” between institutional and student values. Must be taken seriously. Other colleges (e.g. name of college removed) that have done this have benefited financially but have lost many of their spiritual distinctives.
- Our media resources are so far behind – I would hate to see our monies creating new things when we can’t support our existing technology.
- I am concerned about technical demands for this type of program in view of current lack of ability to maintain current equipment. I am also concerned about loss of spiritual emphasis in this type of course.
- Current technology for what we need on campus, as well as support service is already inadequate. Distance education would only exacerbate this problem. Distance education is inconsistent with our mission.
- To replace classes where interaction between faculty and students is essential.
- I would support limited availability for residential undergraduate students, most of the focus should be on residential students. Some studies seem to show that Distance Ed is not cost effective. If it appears that it would cost rather than generate revenue, I would not support Distance Ed.
- See 30, 31, 32 above. (Subject answered “strongly disagree” to all)
- I think my particular courses are too “hands-on” to be good candidates for distance learning.
- I am too busy!
- I have reservations about evaluating learning from online science courses.
- Lack of one-on-one relationships. Barrier to Chn. faith community.
- It’s a fad.
- Major concern is effect on residential life; chapel, community.
- I do not support DL for the residential committee (sic) because there can be no substitute for daily interaction between students and professor in meeting the college’s mission.
- Information Services is woefully inadequate when it comes to meeting our current needs. I don’t see how they could take on a major new task.
- The sole justification is additional revenue.
Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Volume X, Number II, Summer 2007
University of West Georgia, Distance Education Center
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