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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Faculty View Online Courses More Favorably

As more college faculty get involved in developing and teaching online courses, they appear to be changing their views on the effectiveness of digital education compared to in-person classes, according to findings in a new survey.

The 2017 Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology, conducted by Inside Higher Ed with assistance from the Online Learning Consortium and Gallup, revealed a fairly big shift in faculty opinion on online classes. “While faculty members remain slightly more likely to disagree than to agree that online courses can achieve student outcomes that are as good as those of in-person courses, the proportion agreeing rose sharply this year, and the proportion strongly disagreeing dropped precipitously,” Inside Higher Ed reported.

About 42% of professors responding to the survey said they have taught at least one online course, up from 39% the previous year. However, more faculty at public institutions have conducted online classes than their counterparts at private schools (46% vs. 21%).

Of those instructors who have taught online, 71% indicated the experience had sharpened their teaching skills in general. Less than half, though, had received training in creating online courses and less than a third said their schools adequately acknowledge the effort that goes into online instruction.

While many institutions have pointed to cost savings as a major reason for offering online courses, most of the survey respondents didn’t see any reduction in cost and felt that administrators and technology vendors have exaggerated the potential savings. Most respondents also said their institutions didn’t share any data on student outcomes from their online courses.

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