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Faculty Participation in Distance Education Programs

Faculty Participation in Distance Education Programs
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Author(s): Catherine C. Schifter (Temple University, USA)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 6
Source title: Encyclopedia of Distance Learning, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Patricia L. Rogers (Bemidji State University, USA), Gary A. Berg (California State University Channel Islands (Retired), USA), Judith V. Boettcher (Designing for Learning, USA), Caroline Howard (HC Consulting, USA), Lorraine Justice (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong) and Karen D. Schenk (K. D. Schenk and Associates Consulting, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch143


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Distance education is not new to higher education. Correspondence courses have served students since the 19th century. What is different today is the use of interactive computer-mediated communication systems for distance education (DE). Indeed, DE is present in all levels of higher education, and the decision to offer DE is often an administrative one without faculty consultation. A successful DE program needs faculty participation. To teach in a DE program, faculty need to reconsider the teaching and learning process, and to modify their teaching methods to adopt interactive computer-mediated communication and teaching strategies that take advantage of the resources afforded by technologymediated pedagogy, and to be more student centered (Beaudoin, 1998). This shift in roles means that successful teaching skills for DE are different from those required in face-to-face teaching (Hackman & Walker, 1990); however, faculty training programs tend to focus on to how to use the computers or software, not on how to teach in DE environments (Merkley, Bozik & Oakland, 1997). Given that DE is not a common concept for most faculty and they will need to learn how to teach in the DE environment, there are two questions for DE administrators to answer. First, what motivates faculty to embrace this new teaching environment and to change their teaching strategies? And second, what assistance, incentives and compensation policies support faculty in this educational transformation?

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