Our Online Learning Community's Online Learning Failures

A need to look in the mirror.

October 29, 2014

Are you as depressed as I am about the results of the 2014 IHE Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology

Some lowlights:

  • Only 9 percent of faculty strongly agree that online courses can achieve student learning outcomes that are at least equivalent to those of in-person courses at any institution.
  • Only 4 percent of faculty think that online learning is better than in-person courses in delivering the necessary content to meet learning objectives.
  • Fully 71 percent of faculty say that face-to-face time decreased when they taught a hybrid or blended course.
  • Only 15 percent of faculty think that it is very important to “convert face-to-face courses to blended or hybrid courses.
  • Only 22 percent of faculty strongly agree that their institution provides adequate technical support for creating an online course.
  • Only 17 percent of faculty strongly agree that their institution should expand online course offerings.
  • Only 15 percent of faculty strongly agree that they are are appropriately involved with decision-making on whether to expand online course offerings at their institution.

These are are terrible results. There is no way to explain around the dismal lack of support that faculty have for online, and by extension, blended learning.  

How can it be that the gap between faculty perceptions of online learning and those of technology administrators continues to be so wide and so deep?

I think that it is time that our online learning community owned up to our failures.  

We need to address our failure to build coalitions and common cause with faculty head on.  

We need to be confident in our beliefs about the efficacy of well-designed online and blended courses, while at the same time creating many more opportunities to engage our skeptical faculty colleagues.  

We need to spend more time listening to what faculty want in the online learning programs at our campuses.

We need to insist on a baseline of adequate instructional design, project management, and technology support for every online and blended course.  

We need to get much more serious and skilled in conducting research on learning outcomes across various course design and delivery methods.   

We need to be constant and robust supporters of faculty autonomy and security.  

We need to do a much better job of talking about the art of teaching, and the high level of skills, experience, and commitment that faculty bring to their teaching.

The IHE Survey should be a wake-up call for our entire online learning community. 

We should take ownership of the results and responsibility for our failures.  

We should be working to find ways to come together as a community to develop plans to specifically address the results of the Survey, and we should set firm goals for improvement.

How will you address the results of the Survey on your campus?


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