Factors influencing faculty participation in distance education in postsecondary education in the United States: An institutional study
Kristen Suzanne Betts, The George Washington University, United States
The George Washington University . Awarded
The purpose of this study was to identify factors that influence (motivate and inhibit) faculty participation in distance education (DE), and to identify any significant differences between what faculty identify and deans perceive as factors that influence participation. This study surveyed 993 faculty and eight deans at The George Washington University.
Based on the 539 responses (53.8%), it was determined that academic division (School), age, and non-tenure accruing status significantly influenced faculty participation in DE. For example, schools with deans with DE teaching experience and/or positive attitudes toward DE had larger percentages of faculty participating in DE. Additionally, faculty 45 years old and older, and faculty in non-tenure accruing positions were found to be the most active in DE. Gender, rank, and tenured/non-tenured status were not found to influence faculty participation.
It was also revealed that intrinsic factors positively influenced faculty participation in DE while extrinsic factors did not significantly influence participation. Furthermore, the data revealed that participators were more intrinsically motivated to participate in DE than non-participators.
Finally, significant differences were found between factors that "have motivated" participators to participate in DE and factors that "would motivate" them to continue and/or increase their participation. Moreover, no significant differences were found between what faculty identified and deans perceived as factors that would motivate faculty to participate in DE. However, significant differences were found between what faculty identified and deans perceived as factors that would inhibit faculty from participating in DE.
Currently, GWU is in a position to increase its involvement in DE or to continue its current level of involvement. Based on this study, there are five recommendations for GWU to consider, should the University choose to increase its level of participation in DE: (1) provide the deans with an overview of DE and information on how to become involved; (2) eliminate inhibiting factors that deter faculty from participating and stress the intrinsic benefits associated with DE; (3) establish a DE central office; (4) provide faculty development programs focused on DE and (5) create University-level and School-level DE policies based on the 1,756 individual recommendations provided by the respondents.
Betts, K.S. Factors influencing faculty participation in distance education in postsecondary education in the United States: An institutional study. Ph.D. thesis, The George Washington University.
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