Presentation Title

Raising the Bar with Professional Development in the Use of Distance Learning Tools

Start

10-1-2020 10:00 AM

End

10-1-2020 11:00 AM

Short Description

Strategic plans to increase online student enrollment and distance learning (DL) enrollment are driven by professional development efforts to facilitate the adoption of distance learning tools and promote confidence in their use. As it takes approximately 3 to 5 years to achieve change in teaching attitudes toward technology (Hall & Hord, 2014), understanding factors that influence faculty adoption of technology, their self-efficacy, and attitudes toward technology becomes indispensable. This presentation reports results of a study that examines these factors through the self-reported data by distance learning professors at a large regional institution.

Abstract

Self-efficacy is a stable cross-cultural construct in facilitating goal setting, effort investment, persistence in the face of barriers, and recovery from setbacks. Findings confirm moderate-to-strong correlations between faculty self-efficacy to teaching online and the training received (Dunbar & Melton, 2018), as well as significant positive effects of attitudes and digital literacy. Faculty attitudes towards distance learning (DL) impact their adoption of online teaching tools. Research shows significant relationships between faculty attitudes towards DL and self-efficacy in online teaching, specifically regarding future interest in and satisfaction with teaching online (Horvitz, Beach, Anderson & Xia, 2015). Similarly, system quality, perceived self-efficacy and facilitation conditions act as significant predictors of faculty attitudes towards learning management systems (LMS), thus affecting their use by faculty (Fathema, Shannon & Ross, 2015).

The profession development model used a multifaceted approach to train faculty in the use of distance learning tools. Two central offices provided training. The technology support unit offered how-to sessions on various distance learning tools available at the institution. The distance learning office offered pedagogy focus training for when and how to deploy the technology. Training was offered using face-to-face, livestreaming, and recording options. For support beyond training, open labs are available two days a week for additional support, one-on-on appointments with technology training staff, community of practice for advance users, 24-help desk support, and instructional designer support.

The current study employed a mixed-methods design involving an online survey. The online survey gathered data on faculty demographics/background, self-efficacy with distance learning tools, attitudes towards distance learning tools, PD experiences with distance learning tools, and open-ended questions. The researchers plan to conduct a quantitative analysis for the survey questions and qualitative analyses to uncover emergent themes in the responses to open-ended survey questions.

Raising the bar in providing quality professional development is important component of designing and implementing distance education at all levels. The interplay of multiple forms of professional development can improve faculty self-efficacy regarding the use of distance learning tools. The comfort level with the tools expands faculty's positive attitudes and willingness to modify their teaching strategies to accommodate the distance educational learning environment. This group of faculty members proactively sought out training both at the university level and through a variety of self-study methods. Their comfort level with technology was exhibited in the higher ratings in the impact stages for the Concerns Based Adoption Model and in the high levels of expression in the self-efficacy survey questions. This study takes a step in understanding how the different forms of PD options designed to meet faculty concerns improve their self-efficacy, and attitudes, and, ultimately, their use of the tools in distance education courses and programs. Future analysis will examine the different variables that potentially impacted the higher levels of confidence in the use of distance learning tools.

Format

Concurrent Session

Institutional level targeted

Higher Ed

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Oct 1st, 10:00 AM Oct 1st, 11:00 AM

Raising the Bar with Professional Development in the Use of Distance Learning Tools

Self-efficacy is a stable cross-cultural construct in facilitating goal setting, effort investment, persistence in the face of barriers, and recovery from setbacks. Findings confirm moderate-to-strong correlations between faculty self-efficacy to teaching online and the training received (Dunbar & Melton, 2018), as well as significant positive effects of attitudes and digital literacy. Faculty attitudes towards distance learning (DL) impact their adoption of online teaching tools. Research shows significant relationships between faculty attitudes towards DL and self-efficacy in online teaching, specifically regarding future interest in and satisfaction with teaching online (Horvitz, Beach, Anderson & Xia, 2015). Similarly, system quality, perceived self-efficacy and facilitation conditions act as significant predictors of faculty attitudes towards learning management systems (LMS), thus affecting their use by faculty (Fathema, Shannon & Ross, 2015).

The profession development model used a multifaceted approach to train faculty in the use of distance learning tools. Two central offices provided training. The technology support unit offered how-to sessions on various distance learning tools available at the institution. The distance learning office offered pedagogy focus training for when and how to deploy the technology. Training was offered using face-to-face, livestreaming, and recording options. For support beyond training, open labs are available two days a week for additional support, one-on-on appointments with technology training staff, community of practice for advance users, 24-help desk support, and instructional designer support.

The current study employed a mixed-methods design involving an online survey. The online survey gathered data on faculty demographics/background, self-efficacy with distance learning tools, attitudes towards distance learning tools, PD experiences with distance learning tools, and open-ended questions. The researchers plan to conduct a quantitative analysis for the survey questions and qualitative analyses to uncover emergent themes in the responses to open-ended survey questions.

Raising the bar in providing quality professional development is important component of designing and implementing distance education at all levels. The interplay of multiple forms of professional development can improve faculty self-efficacy regarding the use of distance learning tools. The comfort level with the tools expands faculty's positive attitudes and willingness to modify their teaching strategies to accommodate the distance educational learning environment. This group of faculty members proactively sought out training both at the university level and through a variety of self-study methods. Their comfort level with technology was exhibited in the higher ratings in the impact stages for the Concerns Based Adoption Model and in the high levels of expression in the self-efficacy survey questions. This study takes a step in understanding how the different forms of PD options designed to meet faculty concerns improve their self-efficacy, and attitudes, and, ultimately, their use of the tools in distance education courses and programs. Future analysis will examine the different variables that potentially impacted the higher levels of confidence in the use of distance learning tools.