Administrators’ Views on Factors Influencing Full-Time Faculty Members’ Participation in Online Education

January 8, 2012


This pilot study was conducted in order to explore factors that facilitate and inhibit the teaching of online courses from an administrative perspective. A random sample of community college and public and private universities was selected, and administrators working closely in online education were invited to participate. A qualitative (interview-based) research design was used. Administrators of two public universities, one private university, and two community colleges participated; 12 interviews were completed and 1 additional participant e-mailed responses for a total of 13 data sets. Facilitating factors included concerns for institutional survival, student demand, fulfilling professional responsibilities to one’s field by expanding access to the profession through online programs, and the flexibility afforded by online courses. Inhibiting factors included preparation time in terms of designing high-quality online courses, fear of and resistance to change, the fit between online education and select curricula, and missing the “energy” of the classroom. The study considered blended education as well but the data pertained exclusively to online education. Disruptive Innovation Theory (Christensen 2003; Christensen et al. 2011) was used to interpret the data.

SOURCE: Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration

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