Motivating Faculty to Teach Online

02 Mar

By Marie Norman

Online education continues to grow (though the breakneck pace seems to have slowed a bit of late) and an increasing number of college and university students want to take online courses. At the same time, faculty members seem reluctant to teach these courses.

This poses a conundrum for universities, and raises an important question: What, if anything, would make the prospect of teaching online more appealing to faculty? (In the first part in this series, I explored how MOOCs can encourage good — and bad — habits for professors.)

While pondering this question, I had the opportunity to work with a faculty member who is developing a MOOC. (MOOCs, for the uninitiated, are massive open online courses. They are created by faculty from various institutions and offered, usually for free, through outfits like Coursera, Udacity and EdX.) The faculty member’s enthusiasm for this project highlighted to me several advantages MOOCs have when it comes to motivating faculty interest in online teaching. It’s worth looking at what these advantages are and considering what they can teach us about faculty motivation to teach online.

Faculty WIFM

The WIFM (What’s in It for Me?) factor for faculty who develop a MOOC is clear. The creation of a successful MOOC has the potential to enhance an instructor’s professional reputation through global visibility. The instructor, therefore, has a personal and professional incentive to undertake the task, finish it and do it well.

Anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that online courses are more time-consuming to develop and teach than face-to-face courses. Can we blame busy faculty (who juggle research, committee and teaching responsibilities) for questioning why it’s in their interest to get involved?

[ Full article available at Inside Higher Ed: ]

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Posted by on March 2, 2015 in Best Practices


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