CONFLICTED: FACULTY AND ONLINE LEARNING, 2012
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 21 -- College and university faculty members are more pessimistic than optimistic about online education and remain far more skeptical about learning outcomes in online programs than are academic technology administrators on their campuses. But faculty members with a greater exposure to online education take a more optimistic view than their peers.
Those are among the key findings of a new study by the Babson Survey Research Group and Inside Higher Ed on faculty views on online learning. The study is based on two national surveys, one of more than 4,500 teaching faculty and a second of academic technology administrators. Inside Higher Ed’s article on the study (and links to the report) can be found at: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/survey/conflicted-faculty-and-online-education-2012.
58 percent of the professors surveyed describe themselves as having “more fear than excitement” about the growth of online learning; more than 80 percent of academic technology administrators, on the other hand, say they feel more excitement than fear.
Nearly two-thirds of faculty members say they believe that the learning outcomes for an online course are inferior or somewhat inferior to those for a comparable face-to-face course. Even among those with a strong vested interest in online education – faculty members who are currently teaching online courses – considerable concern remains about the quality of the learning outcomes.
A third of instructors think that their institutions are pushing too much instruction online, compared to fewer than 10 percent of administrators.
For all the faculty skepticism, the study provides evidence that professors gain more confidence in online learning as they become more involved with it. And on the most basic question asked of faculty at institutions with online offerings – have you recommended an online course to a student or advisee? – 60 percent of faculty reported that they had. The figure grows to 87 percent for those who teach online.