Online Faculty Training Strategies

Still looking into the PD aspect of online teaching and learning, I came across a number of interesting teaching strategies:

  • inclusion of adult learning theory in training
  • build upon current expertise of faculty member
  • just-in-time mentoring supports
  • a phased approach, i.e. teacher as learner to teacher as adopter to teacher as co-leader to teacher as re-affirmer to teacher as leader (Palloff & Pratt, 2011)
  • community learning approach, i.e. use of brown bag lunch workshops
  • use of faculty topics of interest

Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2011). The Excellent Online Instructor: Strategies for Professional Development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


Questions to Assist in Validity of Data Collection Instrument

To aid in the securing of validity for quantitative research here are a few questions to ask during the creation of a quantitative study:

  • what prior studies have used this particular instrument?  What were the outcomes?
  • Is the use of my instrument for data collection of similar purposes?
  • Do my interviews verify my data collection instrument? (Creswell, 2012, p. 163)

Creswell, J. W. (2012). Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research (4th ed.). Addison Wesley.


Looking in PD for Online Instructors

Sometimes our research takes us down rabbit trails that can be very helpful for our research, providing that time is not lost in the vacuum of discovery. As I continue my research focused on online music education, I came across an avenue that very much intersects with online teaching and learning – professional development for online instructors.

PD for teachers can be a very challenging topic due to the fact that teachers already know a wealth of information on how to teach, combined with the ever-changing landscape of technology. While it can seem overwhelming for an online teacher to embrace some of the new research taking place in how we can better help our online learners, the fact remains that PD is an important component for all of us in the education field.

Palloff & Pratt (2011) have highlighted a number of characteristics that remind us of what skills we as educators need in regards to online teaching readiness: visibility, compassion, communication, commitment and organization (p. 19). While these inherent skills are critical for connecting with our online students, there will always be ways to improve our online teaching through training: personal establishment of online presence; online teaching pedagogy; how best to disseminate subject-specific content and how and what technology (i.e. LMS, apps, etc.) to use in online teaching (p. 21).


While Zhu (2008) cites that many faculty attending technology training for teaching are not known for trying new things or change, we can all be part of the solution by building communities in our faculties that support collaborative learning. My goal for this week is to make one concerted gain in being more collaborative… how about you? 🙂

Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2011). The Excellent Online Instructor: Strategies for Professional Development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Zhu, E. (2008). Breaking dow barriers to the use of technology for teaching in higher education. In D. R. Robertson & L. B. Nilson (Eds.), To Improve the Academy: Resources for Faculty, Instruction, and Organizational Development, 26, 305-318. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Pre-conceived research ideas

We all come to our research with previous knowledge and ideas. Sometimes our information is helpful for digging into the research and sometimes our pre-conceived ideas are mis-aligned or facts without all of the details.  I came across the latter this week as I got into a few articles on research method, specifically case study.

The specific reading that challenged my previous ideas on case study research from researcher Bent Flyvbjerg (2006).  Prior to my reading, I have to admit that I had a leaning towards qualitative research as a “more scientific” method of research. Built upon numbers and statistics, probability and scientific design, I thought that quantitative research would likely be the method for my own PhD research. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have all the right answers, and after reading Flyvbjerg’s article, my position has changed to a more open acceptability towards case study research.

Now having said that I am open to case study research, I feel that I need to qualify that statement by adding that case study research does need to include obvious rigor, falsification of the problem, clarity of narrative outcome and that the researcher has to re-examine preconceived notions (i.e. biases) and theories throughout study. For the next few posts I am going to go a bit more in depth on my findings for the method of case study research.

What pre-conceived research biases do you have as you begin your research study?

Flyvbjerg, B. (2006). Five Misunderstandings About Case-Study Research. Qualitative Inquiry, 12(2), 219–245. doi:10.1177/1077800405284363

Question for fellow researchers…

We continue to come across some great questions in our research and sometimes they are ones that may not have a finite answer, but are really helpful for keeping us in the research thought process. Here’s my question for the research cyber world:

Culture influences epistemology, but how deep is not know.  Is there another reason behind epistemological diversity in education research (i.e. beyond the being tolerant and expanding understandings)?

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