Faculty perspectives on online learning : a comparative study of Palo Alto College and San Antonio College of the Alamo Community college District
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Enrollments in distance education courses continue to rise and faculty members continue to teach them. In some cases, student demand for distance education courses exceeds the number of courses offered by the institution. Additional faculty members are needed to teach distance education courses to meet the increasing student demand. As institutions begin relying on adjunct faculty to teach distance education courses and move toward more progressive distance education programs, the involvement of the stakeholders in decision making becomes increasingly important to student success. The Purpose of this study is to identify factors that online faculty members from a small and large community college perceive as important to the success of online programs. The study also identifies characteristics of successful online course design, faculty responsibilities, student responsibilities and the responsibilities of the administration. The dissertation contains five chapters. Chapter I provides an introduction, statement of the problem, collegiate study: Palo Alto College and San Antonio College, the purpose of the study, research questions, selection of methodology, significance of the problem, definitions of distance education and terms and limitations of the study. Chapter II provides a review of the literature on distance education. Chapter III provides an overview of the methodology (Interactive Qualitative Analysis) utilized in the study. Chapter IV provides an overview of the results of the study to include data collection and analysis process, college selection process, faculty selection for the study, the focus group, individual interviews, and Interactive Qualitative Analysis (IQA). Chapter V includes an overview of the Interpretations and Recommendations for the study. The study identifies several considerations for implementing a distance education program to include 1) Planning and organizing 2) Determining the organizational structure of the distance education program (sole-responsibility, dual-mode or consortium) and 3) Determining the institution’s ability to provide financial support for a distance education program. An institution should also implement policies that will help students succeed in online learning. A few of the recommended policies include 1) Limiting class size to 24 students in online courses 2) Providing proper technical support and training and 3) Providing a reliable student survey for online courses.
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