Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Jun Sun & Dr. Ramiro de la Rosa, The University of Texas – Pan American
Today, we are spotlighting The University of Texas – Pan American professors, Dr. Jun Sun & Dr. Ramiro de la Rosa. They were Spring 2014 Faculty Research Grant Recipients for their
proposal, “Faculty Training on Quality Matters Standards and Student Perceptions of Online Course Design: A Longitudinal Study.” We are thrilled to share their findings in their research and thank them for participating in our Faculty Research Grant Program. Below is the introduction along with a link to the full report.
Enabled by the advances in information technologies, online learning represents one major future direction of higher education for its numerous advantages. Compared with traditional in-classroom courses, online courses provide students more flexible and economic options (Twigg, 2003). Yet the quality of online courses is hard to control, which contributes to their lower completion rates than face-to-face courses (Kearsley, 2000; Xu & Jaggars, 2011).
Since the early stage of online education, researchers have recognized the importance of faculty training and development to reduce their resistance to online teaching methods and sharpen their skills to design and deliver online courses (Berge, 1998; Palloff & Pratt, 2001). Nevertheless, empirical findings consistently point to the lack of training as one of the major barriers to the quality improvement of online education (Conrad, 2004; Allen & Seaman, 2010).
Meanwhile, educational institutions provide various online teaching training programs to prepare their faculty members for the challenge of online teaching (Goodyear et al., 2001). Yet the effectiveness of faculty training programs has been a concern of online education researchers as well as the faculty members themselves (Kosak et al., 2004; McQuiggan, 2007). Unless the concern is not sufficiently addressed, instructors are unlikely to actively participate in training, and schools may be hesitant to set aside resources for such program offering.
Online education should be learner-centered, and students are at the best position to evaluate online course quality. The purpose of this study is to investigate the causal relationship between faculty training on Quality Matters standards and online course quality as perceived by students. Based on literature review, this study first identified independent and dependent variables and hypothesized relationships between them. To test the research hypotheses, it further collected empirical observations with a survey. Based on the results of statistical analyses, the implications of the findings were discussed.