Faculty Development for Online Teaching as a Catalyst for Change?
How does teaching online influence a faculty member’s teaching and technology practices? I’ll be exploring this question during a presentation at the 2016 eLearning Consortium of Colorado (eLCC) conference called, “How Teaching Online Enhances Your Pedagogical Toolkit.”
One of the research studies that I’ll be sharing during my eLCC session is the title of this blog post, “Faculty Development for Online Teaching as a Catalyst for Change.” This article describes an action research study by Carol A. McQuiggan that was published in the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks in March of 2012.
McQuiggan’s research questions for this study were:
- Which aspects of the professional development activities do faculty perceive as being most effective in helping them to reflect on and question their previously held assumptions and beliefs about teaching?
- Do faculty experience changes in their previously held assumptions and beliefs about teaching as a result of learning to teach online and, if so, how does transformative learning explain the changes?
- What impact does learning to teach online have on face-to-face teaching practices?
I’ve been very involved in faculty development for online teaching for over 16 years through the University of Denver’s Teaching Online Workshop. I agree with McQuiggan and other researchers that teaching online can have a positive impact on face-to-face teaching practices. Faculty development designed to prepare faculty to teach online often allows faculty members an opportunity to reflect on their teaching practices, both online and in the classroom.
Interest and acceptance of faculty development has grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade at the University of Denver as more and more instructors learn about course design and effective teaching practices through their participation in the Teaching Online Workshop. In my opinion, technology and online education are responsible for helping to legitimize the role of faculty development in higher education as more and more faculty members’ develop online and hybrid courses.
McQuiggan’s observed that online teaching also caused a shift from teacher-centered to more learner-centered teaching with less reliance on lecture. She notes that faculty members also applied this learner-centered approach to their face-to-face classrooms. I strongly believe that teaching online is a catalyst for change in higher education that is long overdue! I’m looking forward to talking about this topic with my eLCC colleagues in April.