A Better Way to Talk with Faculty about Teaching Online

Addressing faculty perceptions of distance learning has been a matter of intense concern since the beginnings of online course delivery. Many articles have been written discussing the reasons that faculty may be disinclined to participate in an online course and how to persuade them to change their minds.

For Bernard Bull, assistance professor of educational design and technology and director of the Instructional Design Center at Concordia University in Wisconsin, it is time to move away from administrative desire to mold attitudes and move toward a discussion that takes into account faculty experience. “This is not a sales pitch,” he says. “Dialogue is beneficial even if it slows down the process. It is not always about achieving consensus.”

Bull offers six ideas about how to think differently about faculty perceptions of distance education by encouraging discussion, always remaining mindful that every person and every program brings a unique point of view to the table.

1. Move from propaganda to academic discourse – “Beware of the hard sell. There are benefits and limitations to anything,” Bull says. He encourages administrators and faculty to become familiar with literature and discussion that raise both positive and negative points about distance learning. “While one may fear that doing so simply provides ammunition for opponents of distance learning, this is the spirit of academic discourse. It is a dialogue that welcomes, even finds benefit in diverse perspective, the ability to test and critique ideas and efforts,” he says. Making this move is the first step in allowing all members of the discussion to feel heard, and this is critical to avoiding the hard sell.

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Read more @ http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/distance-learning/a-better-way-to-talk-with-faculty-about-teaching-online/

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