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Online Education: An Essential Innovation Suzanne G. James, Ph.D. David Binder, MBA Rapid Growth of Online Learning 2008 Sloan survey (Allen & Seaman, 2007) : 12% increase in online education over the past year Community colleges lead: Over 90% of community colleges offer online courses:

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Online Education:An Essential Innovation

Suzanne G. James, Ph.D.

David Binder, MBA

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Rapid Growth of Online Learning

  • 2008 Sloan survey (Allen & Seaman, 2007) : 12% increase in online education over the past year

  • Community colleges lead: Over 90% of community colleges offer online courses:

    “Two-year associate’s institutions have the highest growth rates and account for over one-half of all online enrollments for the last five years.”

  • More online students at associate’s institutions than all others combined

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Rapid Growth of Online Learning

Definitions:% Content OnlineCourse Type

0% Traditional

<30% Web enhanced

30% to <80% Blended/Hybrid

> 80% Online

(Allen & Seaman, 2007)

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Rapid Growth of Online Learning

  • Increasing need for effective faculty (Waiwaiole & Noonan-Terry, 2008)

  • Reliable and effective training is rare (Ko and Stevens, 2004)

  • Nature of current training varies from

    • No formal training

    • Platform based training only

    • Few address faculty as adult learners

  • Student outcomes strongly affected by quality of faculty

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Problems related to rapid online growth

  • Faculty may resist change

  • Faculty must adapt to new way

    of teaching and communicating

  • New skills and pedagogy

    needed … effective online

    teaching is different than

    traditional classroom

  • Lecturer becomes facilitator

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Teacher-centered vs. Learner-centered Style

  • Teacher-centered style focuses on transmission of knowledge

  • Learner-centered style refers to “instruction in which authority for curriculum formatting is jointly shared by learner and practitioner” (Conti, 1985).

  • Retention is higher when faculty focus on learners (Carr, 2000)

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Community College Faculty

  • Charged with engaging all types of learners

  • Faculty must have skills and knowledge to

    • Teach

    • Mentor

    • Engage students

      “Sage on the stage” does not work online; think “Guide on the side”

  • Professional development dollars may be scarce

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Community College Faculty Development

Fugate & Amey (2000) found:

  • Typical community college faculty development includes:

    • faculty orientation

    • master teacher workshops

    • Brown bag sessions on teaching and learning

    • video conferences on learning

  • Typical institutional resources:

    • Educational technology center/department

    • Center/Department/Institute for Teaching and Learning

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Community College Faculty Development

Fugate & Amey (2000) identified additional needs such as:

  • opportunities to update technological skills

  • workshops on diversity

  • pedagogical implications of the changing student population

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Community College Faculty Development

  • Pankowski (2004) reported:

    • Faculty report lack of training on pedagogy

    • Only 20% received training in active learning and student collaboration

  • More recent studies have tended to confirm these and similar issues (Haber & Mills, 2008)

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Community College Faculty Development

  • Barrett, Bower & Donovan (2007) looked at teaching styles of community college faculty

    • Teacher-centered focused on transmission of knowledge as in lecture

    • Learner-centered classes had shared participation of faculty and learners

    • Higher student retention in learner-centered environment.

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Principles of Adult Learning

  • Active involvement

  • Opportunities for dialogue

  • Regular feedback

  • Incorporation of life experiences

  • Relevancy

  • Application immediacy

  • Creation of a social environment

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The Walden University Model

  • Over 400 faculty employed in the Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership

  • Faculty are addressed as adult learners through faculty development stressing

    • Collaboration

    • Mentoring

    • Application immediacy

    • Supportive environment and community

    • Reflective practice

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The Walden Model – Part One

  • New Faculty Orientation

    • A four week course

    • Faculty are introduced to the history, mission, values, goals and educational philosophy of Walden

    • Faculty participate as students as they collaborate on assignments and participate in discussions and reflective practice

    • A sense of community is fostered

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The Walden Model – Mentoring

  • Lead faculty member in each course

    • An expert in subject matter

    • An experienced teacher

    • Understands the online modality

    • Holds periodic phone conferences

    • Promotes sharing of experiences

    • Provides positive feedback and coaching

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The Walden Model – Post NFO training

  • A second four week course

  • Designed on adult learning principles

  • Provides opportunities for faculty to interact

  • Course must be successfully completed before a faculty member can serve as a doctoral committee chair

  • Faculty participate in teams to evaluate sample capstone papers

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The Walden Model – Monthly Faculty Meetings

  • Evening toll-free telephone meetings

  • Both full-time and part-time faculty participate

  • Attendance not required but encouraged

  • Faculty suggest agenda items

  • Goal of meetings is to foster a sense of belonging and community, to provide mentoring from experienced faculty, and to provide opportunities to collaborate

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The Walden Model – Monthly Newsletter

  • Electronic newsletter called

    The Q and A

  • Addresses FAQs sent by


  • Responses have been very


  • Contributes to sense of community

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The Walden Faculty Development Model -- Summary

  • Through a variety of experiences, faculty development at Walden University incorporates collaboration, mentoring, application immediacy, sense of community and reflective practice.

  • Regardless of the course modality, the most important variable for course success is the instructor (Miller & King, 2003).

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Each community college is unique:

  • Adapt Walden’s approach to your institution

  • Benchmark others, most folks will share if asked

  • Development of online faculty should be part of a total faculty development program, not stand alone

  • Apply Adult Learning Principles (faculty are adults too J)

  • Use your successful online faculty as models and mentors … focus on process, not content (Barczyk, Buckenmeyer & Feldman, 2010)

References l.jpg

Allen, I. E. & Seaman, J. (2007). Online nation: five years of growth in online learning. Needham, MA: Sloan Consortium

Barczyk, C., Buckenmeyer, J., & Feldman, L. (2010). Mentoring professors: a model for developing quality online instructors and courses in higher education. International Journal on E-Learning, 9 (1), 7-26

Barrett, K R., Bower, B., & Donovan, N. (2007). Teaching styles of community college instructors. The American Journal of Distance Education, 21(1), 37-49.

Carr, S. (2000, February 11). As distance education comes of age, the challenge is keeping the students. The Chronicle of Higher Education, XLIV (23), A39-A41.

Conti, G. J., 1985. Assessing teaching style in adult education: how and why. Lifelong Learning, 8 (8), 7-11, 28

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Fugate, A. L. & Amey, M. J. (2000). Career stages of community college faculty: a qualitative analysis of their career paths, roles, and development. Community College Review, 28 (1), 1-22

Haber, J. and Mills, M. (2008). Perceptions of barriers concerning effective online teaching and policies: Florida community college faculty. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 32: 266–283

Ko, S, & Rossen, S. (2004). Teaching online, a practical guide. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin

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Miller, T.W., & King, F.B. (2003). Distance education: pedagogy and best practices in the new millennium. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 6(3), 283-297

Pankowski, P. (2004). Faculty training for online teaching. THE Journal, September 1, 2004. Retrieved from

Waiwaiole, E. N. & Noonan-Terry, C. M. (2008). The need to equip, prepare community college faculty has never been greater. Retrieved from cache/print.php?articleId=10597

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For More Information…

Online Education: An Essential Innovation


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[email protected]

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