College and university administrators, students, and IT departments are quick to embrace online learning. For institutions, online courses offer an easy way to increase possible student admissions and revenue and to appeal to non-traditional students and remain competitive in the marketplace. For students, online courses offer increased flexibility and improved access to course resources.
What Do Instructors Think?
According to Inside Higher Ed, nearly half of a group of 4,564 college faculty were excited about online learning prospects, finding online learning more exciting than frightening. In comparison, 80 percent of administrators were more excited than frightened by online education.
- Some 60 percent of faculty at colleges and universities offering online courses have recommended them to student advisees.
- 30 percent of faculty believe that administration is “pushing too much online,” with another 30 percent offering a neutral response.
- Faculty and administrators largely agree with regard to institutional support of technological learning, with more than 80 percent of each acknowledging that the use of technology plays a role in tenure decisions.
- Instructors already teaching online courses view online learning more favorably. Those who already teach both online and blended courses express excitement over online learning at a rate of nearly 70 percent.
- Younger instructors are more likely to view online learning favorably than older, tenured faculty.
The Quality of Online Education
The faculty view of learning outcomes from online education is less positive than the overall view of online education.
- Only 6 percent of faculty think learning outcomes from online education are superior.
- 66 percent of faculty think learning outcomes from online education are inferior to traditional classroom education.
- 39 percent of instructors teaching online feel online learning produces poorer outcomes. Nearly half believed that online and traditional education produced equivalent or similar outcomes.
Instructors, both those that teach online and those that do not, believe that online education can produce comparable learning outcomes if managed appropriately. Instructors expressed concerns about the ability of institutions to correctly assess the quality of online instruction.
Instructors consistently believe in the potential of online education, even if they question the current learning outcomes or the quality of online education. While instruction matters, so too does the technology. Administrators and institutions can increase faculty confidence in online learning by:
- Creating appropriate assessment tools. YuJa offers accessible learning analytics to track student progress, as well as student use of different YuJa tools.
- Offering easy to use lecture capture tools, as well as training for faculty in their use.
- Encouraging blended learning options and hybrid learning options to increase faculty confidence in online learning technology.
Kolowich, Steve. “Conflicted: Faculty and Online Learning.” Inside Higher Ed. June 21, 2012.