Motivations and Concerns: Online Teaching

I am motivated to learn how to teach online in part because of the trends in online education reported by Allen and Seeman (2013) in Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States. They reported that online education is a strategic priority for almost 70% of academic institutions, increasingly students are taking online courses (32% have taken one course online), and more academic leaders believe that online learning outcomes are “just as good” or “better” (75%) than face-to-face.

But, I was concerned to read that academic leaders also report perceptions of more time and faculty effort involved in teaching online, and that faculty acceptance of online education has dropped (30%). The perception of quality in online education is improving and at the same time perception of online teaching workload is increasing. Which makes sense, more work is usually involved for higher quality, but faculty acceptance of online teaching is decreasing (30% in 2012, 33.5% in 2007 is highest).  I think this may indicate that faculty need expert instruction and ongoing supports (e.g., EFOT types of courses, boosters, and in-house instructional design and implementation assistance) to teach online effectively and efficiently.

To address this concern I plan to learn as much as possible from the EFOT course, experts and resources; work with the SN instructional designer; and take advantage of other supports and developmental opportunities on a regular basis. I also think it is important to communicate with other faculty and administration about what is involved in online education and what is needed to do it well.

I think I will be able to learn how to teach online effectively and efficiently by using expert resources, building on my years of experience in teaching, and using my skills in engaging students in new ways.  Lots of work, but worth it!


  1. Kristy – First, I’d like to say how much I appreciate your positive attitude towards the evolution of online instruction. As you stated in your post, few faculty have that attitude and it doesn’t seem to be growing. However, you also hit on another important point, and that is faculty need expert instruction in this area. In some cases, assistance is not available, leaving the instructor to seek out his or her own support methods; in others, assistance is available, but underutilized. Either way, a gap is formed.

    I have no doubt that you and many others will learn how to teach online effectively because you all have already demonstrated the most important “skill”—the motivation and passion of lifelong learners that care about the quality experiences provided to your learners.

    For some further exploration, here is a little list of five TED talks discussing the future of online education:
    A couple of months ago, I actually had the opportunity to meet Daphne Koller (co-founder of Coursera) here at Emory. It was really inspiring to chat with someone so passionate about education. Despite the decreasing acceptance of online education, school leaders do have a big impact. Sharing your experiences, talking enthusiastically to your colleagues, and even modeling best practices can be contagious.

    Thanks, Kristy!

    • Susan Hylen on July 2, 2014 at 3:16 pm
    • Reply

    Hi Kristy,

    Thanks for your post, which I have to say is exemplary in your use of sources! 🙂

    I think that there are two things we should take into consideration when considering faculty resistance to online teaching (besides the idea that we are reluctant to change, which is undoubtedly true!):

    1. there are good things that happen in the classroom that go beyond the delivery of content. Many of these center around direct experiences of the other (as David has mentioned in his post on this blog). These seem to be lost or radically transformed in online teaching. But I think there is a real perception of loss involved in the changing format and not just resistance to its newness or difficulty.

    2. I think there is also a valid concern that some students will miss out on the “goods” of a traditional classroom setting. I am concerned that traditional teaching will become something of an expensive “boutique” experience that only the rich can enjoy–while at the same time it seems useful and good that people who couldn’t otherwise access education are able to.

    Although I think it’s important to embrace the new opportunities of online learning, it is also worthwhile to acknowledge the ways in which it is a mixed bag.

  2. Kristy, How do you see your skills in engaging students manifesting in new ways? I think that is my greatest fear and challenge.

    David K.

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