CEC Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Gertrude W Abramson

Committee Member

Martha M Snyder

Committee Member

Amanda C Barefield

Abstract

When administrators make decisions about the infrastructure support needs of a current or planned online teaching program, these decisions are often based on external expert advice rather than on the advice of experienced ground level faculty who are living with the dynamic nature of the technology and support needed to develop and maintain an effective online teaching program. Online teaching faculty are the best source of advice and information on what works and what does not.

Faculty at the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) were surveyed to find out what elements are important to the development of an effective online teaching program. Faculty were also asked to validate the Online Teaching Infrastructure Matrix designed to help campus administration evaluate the current administrative support they provide to online teaching programs. Many of the MCG faculty have 20 or more years teaching experience, but less than that teaching online. Data were collected through the use of a survey titled "Online Faculty Support Survey," which was developed by the researcher. The survey served to identify: a) faculty perceptions of what elements are important to the development of a successful online teaching program; b) which of those elements were in use at their specific institution; c) factors serving to enhance faculty participation in an online teaching program, and which factors impede their involvement; and d) faculty perceptions of the clarity and expected effectiveness of the Matrix.

The survey has been evaluated by a panel of experts consisting of a statistician, an instructional designer, a program support specialist, a multimedia support specialist, an academic services professional, an information technology network support professional, and two faculty online program directors. Careful analysis of the data received from the responses to the survey reveals specific areas that faculty deem important to an online teaching program, and whether their specific institution actively provides those important elements. The data were coded and further analyzed to identify areas where there may be significant differences between what faculty deem to be important elements of infrastructure support and what is actively provided by their institution.

The validated Matrix is a useful tool that administrative decision makers at MCG can rely on to help them maintain SACS accreditation standards, and other institutions can use it to develop an online teaching program or enhance an existing program. It can be modified to meet specific needs of the institution, or updated to reflect changing technology.

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