The Effectiveness of Professional Development in Overcoming Obstacles to Effective Online Instruction in a College of Education

Jered Borup, Anna Evmenova


The growth of online learning has placed a strain on K-12 schools and universities to provide students with qualified instructors. It is especially important that colleges of education provide their pre- and in-service teachers with skilled online instructors so they can experience quality online instruction first-hand as students. This case study examined the effectiveness of a 6- to 7-week professional development course designed to improve faculty members’ knowledge, skills, and dispositions required to teach online effectively in a college of education. Faculty participants were also given the opportunity to earn up to seven digital badges for demonstrating specific skills during the course. Analysis of 18 faculty interviews, surveys, and discussion board comments found that course content and assignments improved faculty members’ knowledge and skills, but the ways the course was delivered and the online teaching methods modeled by the course instructor appeared to have a larger impact on perceptions and attitudes towards online learning. As a result, online teaching professional development may have its greatest impact when it models the types of online courses the college would like faculty to actually design and facilitate. Faculty also appeared to be more motivated to earn digital badges than they had originally anticipated but were confused what to do with the badges once they were earned.


online learning, online teaching, instructor modeling, professional development.

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