Increasing Access to Higher Education: A study of the diffusion of online teaching among 913 college faculty

  • Peter Shea
  • Alexandra Pickett
  • Chun Sau Li
Keywords: online teaching, faculty satisfaction, faculty development, diffusion of innovation, access, higher education, study

Abstract

Online learning environments provide an unprecedented opportunity to increase student access to higher education. Accomplishing this much needed goal requires the active participation and cooperation of university faculty from a broad spectrum of institutional settings. Although online learning has seen rapid growth in recent years, it remains a relatively small percentage of the entire curriculum of higher education today. As a relatively recent development, online teaching can be viewed through the lens of diffusion of innovation research. This paper reports on research from 913 professors from community colleges, four-year colleges, and university centers in an attempt to determine potential barriers to the continued growth in adoption of online teaching in higher education. It is concluded through factor and regression analysis that four variables are significantly associated with faculty satisfaction and their likelihood, therefore, to adopt or continue online teaching – these include levels of interaction in their online course, technical support, a positive learning experience in developing and teaching the course, and the discipline area in which they taught. Recommendations for institutional policy, faculty development, and further research are included.

Keywords: online teaching, faculty satisfaction, faculty development, diffusion of innovation, access, higher education, study

Author Biographies

Peter Shea
Dr. Peter Shea is a Professor in the department of Educational Theory and Practice with a joint appointment with the School of Information Science and Policy Studies at the University at Albany, State University of New York. His research focuses on technology-mediated teaching and learning, most recently on the topics of "teaching presence" and community in asynchronous learning networks. He is the author of many articles and several book chapters on the topic of online learning, co-author of the book, "The Successful Distance Learning Student" (Thomson-Wadsworth) and a contributor to the new book, "Learning Together Online - Research on Asynchronous Learning Networks" (Lawrence Erlbaum). He is a member of AERA and the editorial board for JALN.
Alexandra Pickett
Alexandra M. Pickett is the Assistant Director of the SUNY Learning Network (SLN), the asynchronous learning network for the State University of New York. Ms. Pickett has, since 1994, led the development of the instructional design methods, support services, and resources used by SLN to support the development and delivery of full web online courses by SUNY campuses and faculty. One of the original SLN design team members, she co-designed the course management software and authored the 4-stage faculty development process and 7-step course design process used by the network.
Published
2005-07-01
How to Cite
Shea, P., Pickett, A., & Li, C. S. (2005). Increasing Access to Higher Education: A study of the diffusion of online teaching among 913 college faculty. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 6(2). https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v6i2.238
Section
Research Articles