Award-Winning Faculty Online Teaching Practices: Roles and Competencies

Florence Martin, Kiran Budhrani, Swapna Kumar, Albert Ritzhaupt


Given the explosive growth of online learning in institutions of higher education, we are in dire need of guidelines for instructing new and continuing online instructors on how best to teach in online spaces.  The purpose of this study was to identify the roles of the online instructor and categorize critical competencies for online teaching based on a review of research, and the perspectives of award-winning online faculty. We interviewed eight award-winning online faculty members from across the United States. Based on interviews, it was found that online instructors were assuming five different roles: Facilitator, Course Designer, Course Delivery, Subject Matter Expert, and Mentor.  Participants’ common tasks when designing and teaching an online course fell in two areas, either Course Design or Teaching. This research has clear implications not only for the literature research base, but for our institutions as well as we continue to offer increasing numbers of effective online courses and programs to our students.


Online Instructor Roles, Online Instructor Tasks

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