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New Survey Analyzes Faculty and Tech Manager Perceptions and Usage of MOOCs and LMSs

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The majority of college faculty are deeply skeptical about the quality and learning outcomes of online courses, while educational technology administrators are far more optimistic. But when it comes to whether their school rewards technology use during tenure and promotion reviews, both camps agree that that’s rarely the case.

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Source: Inside Higher Ed

Those are a few major findings from Inside Higher Ed’s new “Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology,” which is worth reading for anyone who uses, buys or sells hardware, software and services for massive online open courses (MOOC), learning management systems (LMS) and other applications. Conducted by Gallup, the survey spans 2,251 faculty members and 248 administrators responsible for education technology.

Other major findings include:

· When it comes to the factors that contribute to quality in online education, faculty say institutional accreditation has the greatest influence. About 60 percent say that whether the school also offers in-person instruction is a “very important” indicator of quality.

· Fifty-nine percent of faculty strongly agree that MOOCs should be evaluated by accrediting agencies.

· For all of the buzz about online courses, the vast majority of faculty still spend their time in a campus classroom. Just 5 percent say they’ve never taught an in-person course, while 39 percent have taught a blended or hybrid course. Those responses suggest that tech managers will continue to spend a lot of time installing and supporting displays, projectors and video cameras because most courses will continue to originate from classrooms rather than faculty home offices.

· Among faculty who have never taught an online course, 30 percent say the main reason is because they haven’t been asked. That response is another example of how many schools are still kicking the tires on distance education, indicating a large untapped market for vendors.

· Sixty-two percent of faculty strongly agree that schools shouldn’t launch MOOCs without faculty approval. Only 25 percent of technology administrators strongly agree.

· Many faculty agree that MOOCS could lower the cost of higher education. That perception bodes well for MOOC vendors as everyone from President Obama to university presidents propose ways to cut costs. Faculty support is key for turning those proposals into reality.

· Faculty use of LMSs is still rudimentary rather than for more sophisticated tasks such as identifying struggling students. Most faculty use their school’s LMS to post syllabi. Twenty-five percent use it to track attendance, too, and just 11 percent use it to integrate lecture capture. Female faculty use LMSs more than male faculty when it comes to communicating with students.

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Managing the New Classroom

Colleges and universities are increasingly capturing lectures and other instruction for a variety of applications, including distance learning in real time and downloads by students who want to review a particular class. Oregon’s Portland Community College uses videoconferencing endpoints already in select classrooms to produce five to ten minute lecture excerpts, such as a math class demo of an important equation.

Designing and Managing a 21st Century Classroom

Scott Tiner just got out of a meeting with a faculty member at Bates College, where he’s assistant director for digital media, classroom technologies and event support. Tiner frequently meets one-on-one with faculty to go through how they want to use the school’s digital classrooms.