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Faculty Perceptions of Adapting Traditional Pedagogy for Online Learning

Rosanne DeConto, Johnson & Wales University


Colleges and universities have been adopting the trend of distance education for a variety of reasons (Edmondson & Manning, 2002; Goodyear & Ellis, 2008; Perreault, Waldman, Alexander, & Zhao, 2002). For faculty, the transition to teaching online can be difficult as their roles change (Ascough, 2002; Edmondson & Manning, 2009; Haugen et al., 2000; Yang & Cornelious, 2005); and, thus, faculty must re-examine their traditional pedagogies to adapt to the online learning environment (Ascough, 2002; Condie & Livingston, 2007; Fernandez, 2006; Pamuk, 2012; Yang & Cornelious, 2005). Often times, faculty must adapt to teaching in this environment without any prior training (Pamuk, 2012). Today, courses can be completely online, without the element of face-to-face learning in the traditional classroom setting. Typically, a Learning Management System (LMS) is used to conduct online courses. Although the LMS may demand specific organization, the faculty can have the ability to design courses as they wish (Picciano, 2002). This study addressed the following research questions: In what ways do college faculty modify traditional teaching techniques for the online learning environment? How do college faculty describe the types of professional development needed to best accommodate pedagogy for the online learning environment? This research used a sequential qualitative descriptive design. Phase I comprised of interviews with N=2 online college faculty members. Phase II comprised of focus groups N=3 of N=5 online college faculty members. For Phase III, the researcher used an observation instrument and observed N=8 online courses. Findings suggest that, in the online environment, faculty find ways to incorporate activities that reflect their beliefs about how students learn best. However, faculty wanted opportunities to interact often with other online faculty members so that they may refine their practices. Also, the faculty would like professional development opportunities to best understand how to encourage student participation during synchronous learning experiences. The results of this study may assist administrators and faculty at the college and university level in understanding how beliefs about teaching and learning can be adapted for new technologies. This study may also assist in understanding the types of professional development necessary for online faculty.

Subject Area

Pedagogy|Continuing education|Educational technology|Higher education

Recommended Citation

DeConto, Rosanne, "Faculty Perceptions of Adapting Traditional Pedagogy for Online Learning" (2014). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3623522.