Factors Contributing to the Development of Distance Education through Preliminary Online Training and Identifying Various Levels of Technical Competencies by Online Instructors within the University of North Carolina System

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Title: Factors Contributing to the Development of Distance Education through Preliminary Online Training and Identifying Various Levels of Technical Competencies by Online Instructors within the University of North Carolina System
Author: Tillman, Makia R.
Advisors: Dr. Eric Wiebe, Committee Member
Dr. V. William DeLuca, Committee Co-Chair
Dr. Terri E. Varnado, Committee Co-Chair
Dr. Pooneh Lari, Committee Member
Abstract: Distance Education (DE) is one of the well-known methods of instruction and learning at many colleges and universities throughout the United States as well as other countries. Instructors teaching online courses need some form of training prior to teaching online classes. Most higher education institutions use some form of Learning Management System (LMS), which serves as a medium to correspond between the facilitator and learners. This study provided results on whether instructors teaching hybrid or online courses were adequately prepared based on their levels of technical competencies, and determined if DE training was necessary prior to teaching online courses. The identified competencies were compiled by a collection of researchers and instructors within the Making the Virtual Classroom a Reality (MVCR) online faculty development program at the University of Illinois. MVCR provided an efficient number of technical competencies that were relevant to this study. Competencies from other sources, such as the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS), the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and the North Carolina Technology Competencies were included as well. DE instructors teaching at each of the 15 higher education institutions within the University of North Carolina (UNC) System were studied (Appendix A). Individuals, through self-evaluation, identified their level of technical competencies and whether preliminary DE training was received prior to teaching online courses. A t-test was conducted to analyze the mean scores among individuals who received training. The levels of technical competencies were identified with questions comprised of the following categories: (a) technical access, (b) technical proficiency, and (c) technical assistance. A composite analysis was conducted for each of the categories. The findings were based on the four research questions addressed in this study. An online survey was disseminated to the total population of 1,143 online instructors. Of the total population, 298 responded. The results indicated that the various levels of technical competencies were statistically significant from respondents who received or did not receive preliminary online training prior to teaching online courses. In addition, the results from this study implied that preliminary online training was not needed prior to teaching online courses (from two out of three categories); however, other factors may have played a role on the advanced levels of competencies based on one or more of the following: (a) years of teaching DE courses, (b) number of DE courses taught, (c) respondent’s age, and (d) level of education. A Chi-Square Test was conducted to determine the relationship between the listed categorical factors. The results indicated that based on the levels of technical proficiency, there was a significant difference between the listed categorical factors which may have played a role in the development of online instruction.
Date: 2009-08-12
Degree: EdD
Discipline: Technology Education
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/2988


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