Despite the growth of online education and its seemingly fixed place in higher education, online education is still opposed, or at least viewed with suspicion by many faculty (Allen & Seaman, 2013). Faculty opposition of online education can be expressed in myriad ways, most prominently through shared governance, which can directly limit or completely block online education from occurring at an institution. This case study revolved around a non-profit, Faith-Based university (FBU) that is a newcomer to the inclusion of online coursework. This study sought to investigate the rationale faculty may have towards their support or opposition to online education by using mixed methods to bring to light the beliefs faculty have about online education. In examining the beliefs faculty at FBU have towards online education, this study also prompted faculty to reflect on whether their beliefs about online education have changed since the inclusion of online coursework at FBU, and if so, what factors may have contributed to the evolving beliefs. Data collected from 54 survey respondents and 12 faculty interviews helped to capture these beliefs.
The findings showed that faculty, on average, felt that the impact of online education on the quality of educational experience would be slightly diminished at the undergraduate level but slightly enhanced at the graduate level.
Faculty who indicated evolving beliefs or opinions about online education cited various catalysts. These catalysts fell into 3 categories: external factors—related to economic viability, changes in the higher education environment, and access; information and opinions gather from trusted sources—which would include literature, colleagues, and professional organizations; and personal experience —which stemmed from a direct personal involvement in teaching and/or learning experiences within the online environment.
Findings were examined through the theoretical framework of Rokeach’s (1989) model of belief systems. This model may suggest that beliefs about teaching and learning are closely connected to one’s identity and are thus highly resistant to change. Accepting and implementing new or different methods of teaching and learning, such as the teaching and learning occurring in online education, might require a major reorganization of beliefs about oneself.
|Commitee:||McManus, Jack, Sparks, Paul|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational technology, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Beliefs, Change, Distance education, Faculty, Faith-based university, Online education|
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