Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Skills and beliefs of Superlative Faculty (Teaching Online)

If you've known me for a while, you may well have heard me rave about an unpublished 1981 study by Carol Schneider (now with AAC&U), George Klemp (now with Cambria Consulting), and Susan Kastendiek (University of Chicago) The study is called "The Balancing Act." I liked its methodology and the vivid contrast it draws between the beliefs and skills of faculty who were widely seen as superlative teachers and a second set of faculty who were equally known to their peers, administration and students, but who were seen as average teachers. Unfortunately, until now, there's been no way for anyone to read the study, which was a typed report from the University of Chicago. I hadn't had a copy myself for 20 years.

Now, thanks to Susan Kastendiek, we have linked a pdf of this study to this page suggesting that someone study the skills of faculty members who are great at teaching online. This page (describing the topic and suggesting a methodology) is part of a larger collection of ideas for dissertations and grant proposals in our Flashlight Evaluation Handbook.

If the findings from such a study of faculty teaching online are anything like that of the 1981 Schneider, Klemp and Kastendiek study, they should provide useful insights for both hiring and faculty development.

Hint: the pdf is likely to appear sideways so use the control bar in your reader to give the text a clockwise turn. Then it's easy to read without twisting your neck!

PS My connection to all this: I was a program officer with the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), the Federal program which funded the project. The project was designed to promote educational quality in programs designed primarily for non-traditional learners – learners, since 1981, have become the new majority in higher education.

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