CEC Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2006

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Information Systems (DCIS)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Getrude W. Abramson

Committee Member

Maxine S. Cohen

Committee Member

Marlyn Kemper Littman

Abstract

The offering of online classes has been growing at an incredible rate. Many institutions coerce their instructors into teaching online classes even if they are not prepared. If teachers are unprepared when they teach, there is a negative effect on the students and can jeopardize the reputation of the institution. In order to teach over the Internet, instructors need to learn new competencies. Students in online classes are usually not traditional students. In addition, there can be miscommunication in online classes, because there are no visual cues. Instructors need to learn new communication strategies as well as teaching strategies for reaching the online student.

The goal was to determine the specific training needs of college online instructors and to incorporate the findings in a faculty development handbook for quality online instruction across the curriculum. A search of the literature was completed and a survey was given to hundreds of online college instructors. The survey revealed what instructors believe is important in the training process and which specific skills were needed but not taught to them. Open-ended questions allowed the sharing of practical advice.

An expert panel of experienced online instructors reviewed the survey before it was administered. They then reviewed the handbook contents to make sure it was worthwhile and relevant. The handbook, built into the concluding chapter, is generalizable to all instructors who teach online classes for a college or university. The practical strategies compiled from hundreds of experienced online instructors can be invaluable to new online instructors.

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