Friday, April 3, 2015

Is There a Shortage of Online Faculty in Traditional Schools?

Traditional universities are inconspicuously eying online education as a potential way to balance budgets but sometimes find themselves short on faculty that have the skills and abilities to teach in this modality. As traditional universities continue to move courses online they have increasing needs for virtually trained faculty to step into these roles. Online universities are blazing trails in this venue and may provide guidance to brick-and-mortar institutions. 

The online market is big and getting bigger each year. In the fall of 2010 approximately 6.1 million students that comprise 31.3% of all students enrolled in an online course (Allen & Seaman, 2011). This is an increase of 6% in just two years making online education a remarkably fast growing modality. Universities don't have enough qualified faculty to fill this need. 

According to a study in the Journal of Online Learning and Teaching there are four reasons why universities don’t have enough online faculty to meet demand (Lloyd, Byrne, & McCoy, 2012):

-Interpersonal barriers,
-Institutions barriers,
-Training and technology barriers,
-Cost/benefit analysis barriers.

Barriers come in many different forms. Faculty in traditional universities are not excited about online education which seems to dwindle their perceived roles in a university. Universities themselves may not be fully open to online education and grudgingly are accepting its benefits. 

As online education grows and begins to match traditional face-to-face modalities they will need to develop their faculty to take over new rolls. With resistance to change among established universities they will find themselves running against the market putting more pressure on their operations. Training faculty, cooling the rhetoric, and looking toward successful online models will make all the difference.

Allen, I., & Seaman, J. (2011). Going the distance: Online education in the United States, 2011. Babson Park, MA: Babson Survey Research Group and Quahog Research Group. Retrieved from

Lloyd, S. Byrne, M. & McCoy, T. (2012). Faculty-perceived barriers of online education. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 8 (1).

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