How faculty members design and implement complementary online course management systems in graduate face-to-face instruction
Bothra, Jashoda Sanghvi
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The purpose of this study was to describe how faculty members identify and account for the pedagogical design factors when incorporating online Course Management Systems (CMS) in graduate face-to-face instruction.|The methodology employed was a qualitative design with interviews, documents, and observation as data sources. Participants included ten faculty members from southeastern, northwestern, and southwestern United States. This faculty sample represents maximum variation as they teach different disciplines at either public Masters I or Research I state funded institutions.|Pedagogical design factors considered by faculty included (1) nature of the CMS, (2) student background, and (3) institutional support. The participants incorporated those CMS features which addressed their pedagogical beliefs and expectations. The design factors were implemented by (1) diversifying instruction, (2) providing in-depth instruction, (3) modeling effective teaching and learning and (4) blending instruction in three phases. Faculty implemented their CMS along a three phase continuum. They first, offered duplicate or diversified versions of course materials, second, implemented course management functions and third, built a learning community. The CMS features helped them extend classroom boundaries, provide customized guidance, encourage critical thinking, and build a sense of community in their classes.|Participants situated the design and implementation of CMS-augmented graduate instruction by, (1) adapting to a blended instructional environment, (2) trial and error course design, (3) increase in preparation time, and (4) changes in course interactions. The constant re-design of the course within the CMS involved extra time. Facilitating learning in the blended environment changed the interactions among faculty-students and in most cases increased the amount of student participation in course discussions.|The four conclusions were:|1. Faculty learn the pedagogical practice of blended instruction in situated environments.|2. Faculty design and incorporate the CMS features that offer clear pedagogical benefits for their instructional contexts.|3. Faculty need different types of support (technical, institutional, and collegial) depending on their level of involvement with the design and implementation of the CMS.|4. As a result of implementing CMS, faculty experience enhanced interaction with and among their students.|This study offers research recommendations for faculty developers, adult educators, higher education administrators, and researchers.