Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Dr. Ioan Ionas

Abstract

Web-based education is an important method of instruction across multiple higher education contexts due to its convenience, accessibility, and flexibility. A local college faces demand for online teaching that exceeds the availability of willing faculty. This study investigated instructorsâ?? perceptions of online teaching versus traditional classroom instruction to ascertain whether there were systematic differences between online teaching and face-to-face classroom instruction. Transformational learning theory was the conceptual foundation of this study. The studyâ??s guiding questions were designed to determine how faculty regarded their experiences teaching online classes and the reasons for their opinions, as well as what limitations faculty thought online education possessed. The qualitative, descriptive study investigated faculty attitudes and beliefs about distance education. The program director sent out 10 emails recruiting voluntary participants; six responded, met criteria, and participated. Criteria included at least 3 years of online teaching experience, where at least 1 class took place using an online format, over the course of 2 semesters. Data collected were coded and analyzed for emerging themes. Findings indicated that participants think distance education is beneficial; however, classroom instruction has strengths online teaching does not. To address the findings, a workshop series aimed at educating stakeholders about distance education was designed and developed. The implementation of the workshop series has the potential to change educatorsâ?? attitudes and teaching practices at the local college to the benefit of all stakeholders. Further, this study has the potential to inform change at other colleges facing similar challenges. In addition, future studies should explore differences in student satisfaction levels between online education and traditional courses, if any.

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