Higher education: faculty and the development of online courses

Online education has been a popular topic at public higher education institutions within the last decade, but its adoption at public higher education institutions has been a challenge. Many teachers view the adoption of new technologies as taking a risk with the way education is delivered, and it can often be an intimidating change (Guri-Rosenblit, 2009). The work and roles of faculty within higher education institutions implementing online education have been reshaped and redefined due to the integration of technology into the academic workplace (Tabata & Johnsrud, 2008). The development of online courses requires high levels of commitment by faculty, which can cause faculty to be reluctant (Hayes & Jamrozik, 2001). For online education be successful, faculty are a critical and core resource to the success of any distance education initiative. It is extremely important for education leaders to understand the roles of faculty are changing with the incorporation on online learning. Currently, there is an effort by higher education leaders, administrators, and politicians to increase student access and retention by incorporating the use of online education. As technology becomes a larger part of our daily lives, so will the impact it has on higher education. Online programs are becoming popular and are slowly moving away from the traditional model of teaching. Thus, this study examined the technological knowledge and skills of full-time faculty and the effectiveness of developing the curriculum for online courses. The study represented a quantitative research design by the use of an electronic questionnaire conducted through, an Internet-based survey tool. The data were collected through an online questionnaire sent to full-time faculty at the College of Education. A letter of consent including a link to the survey was emailed to 128 full-time faculty members. The sample for this study included 14 full-time faculty members at the College of Education. Findings of this research included whether full-time faculty in the College of Education at a 4-year public institution possessed the technical knowledge and skills to develop online courses and identify if online instruction was appropriate for graduate programs. The researcher identified that a majority of the participants had the technological platform needed to teach online courses; however, participants identified challenges with the development of online curriculum and only a small percentage felt they had the skills needed to develop online courses. The recommendation is to expand the research with other departments and universities since this research was only conducted with one particular department and university. Finally, further research should study how the development of online courses impacts student success.