Sanford Gold


This article examines the pedagogical role of the teacher in online education. Specifically, the transition from in-class room instruction to online instruction is a complex one involving specialized training in the technical aspects of delivering quality educational materials (or environments) to the students, and specialized training in how to foster knowledge acquisition within this new environment. The article focuses on the pedagogical training that an online instructor needs to become an effective teacher.
The article investigates a two-week faculty development pedagogical training course aimed at preparing teachers to operate effectively within an online educational environment. In attempting to orient the teacher to the online environment, the course used a constructivist instructional methodology within an online context. Several types of collaborative exercises were employed such as virtual field trips, online evaluations, interactive essays, and group projects. The sample (N=44) represented veteran college teachers with little online teaching or studying experience. Tenured faculty (30%) and Instructors (25%) composed the majority of the class. The group had well over 13 years classroom teaching experience (53%), and over three-quarters are currently teaching in higher education institutions. Hypotheses were tested through online data collection and surveys to find out the effects of the pedagogical training on the participants. One important finding of the study concludes that teachers exposed to the course significantly changed their attitudes toward online instruction seeing it as more participatory, and interactive than face-to-face instruction. Another major finding is that after the course, teachers saw the online medium as more of an extension of their faculty work. That is, faculty were more willing to use the online medium as an extension of their duties.


Constructivism,Faculty Development,Pedagogical Training

Full Text:



Russell, T. The “No Significant Difference” Phenomenon as reported in 248 Research Reports, Summaries, and Papers Fourth Edition. North Carolina: North Carolina State University. Web address: http://teleeducation.nb.ca/phenom/

Cuban L. Teaching and Machines. New York: Teachers College Press, 1987. An expert in a knowledge domain does not presuppose he or she is an excellent teacher. The skills of research and publication are different than the skills of teaching.

McManus, T.F. “Delivering Instruction on the World Wide Web, University of Texas at Austin,” 1996. Web address: http;//ccwf.cc.utexas.edu/~mcmanus/wbi.html

Mekhalfi, A. “Constructivism,” 1997. Web address: http://seamonkey.ed.asu.edu/~mcisaac/emc703old97/spring97/7/mekh7.htm

Flavell, J.H., Cognitive Development, 3rd ed., New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, 1993.

Black, J.B. & McClintock, R.O.. An interpretation construction approach to constructivist design. In B. Wilson (Ed.), Constructivist learning environments, New Jersey, Educational Technology Publications, pp. 25-32, 1996.

Fosnot, C.T. Center for constructivist teaching/teacher preparation project. Paper presented at the Association of Teacher Educators’ Annual Conference, Orlando, FL. 1992.

Karmiloff-Smith, A. & Inhelder, B. If you want to get ahead, get a theory. Cognition, 3, pp.195-222, 1974.

Piaget, J. The development of thought: Equilibration of cognitive structures. New York, Viking Press, 1977.

Jonassen, D.H. Evaluating constructivist learning. In T.M. Duffy & D.H. Jonassen, Constructivism and the technology of Instruction, New Jersey, Educational Technology Publications, pp. 137-148, 1992.

Arminio, J. The virtual campus: Technology and reform in higher education. Journal of College Student Personnel, 40(1), 114, Spring, 1999.

Sprague, D. & Dede, C. Constructivism in the classroom: If I teach this Way, am I doing my job? Learning and Leading with Technology, 27(1), 6-9, 16-17. September, 1999.

Turoff, M. Education, commerce, communications: The era of competition. WebNet Journal; 22-31. January-March, 1999.

Becker, H.J. “Internet Use by Teachers: Conditions of Professional Use and Teacher-Directed Student Use,” Center for Research on Information Technology and Organizations. February 1999. Web address: http://www.crito.uci.edu/TLC/findings/Internet-Use/startpage.htm. An initial result of an ongoing study of the Teaching, Learning and Computing survey research of secondary school teachers (4th –12th grades). According to their publication, “later reports will discuss pedagogical differences among different groups of teachers and

will provide data on specific aspects of teachers’ beliefs and practices.”

Piaget, J. The development of thought: Equilibration of cognitive structures. New York, Viking Press, 1977.

Akyalcin, J. Constructivism – an epistemological journey from Piaget to Papet, June, 1997. Web Address: http://www.kilvington.schnet.edu.au/construct.htm

Dewey, J. Democracy and Education. New York, The Free Press, 1916.

Nielsen, J. Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity, USA, New Riders Publishing, 2000.

Hiltz, R. & Turoff, M. Education, Commerce, and Communication: The Era Of Competition, 1997. Web address: http://eies.njit.edu/~hiltz

Bess, J.L. (ed.). Teaching Well and Liking It, Baltimore, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997.

Pierpoint, P.E. & Hartnett, R.A. Faculty attitudes toward teaching in off-campus graduate programs. International Journal of Innovative Higher Education; 5 (1), 25-30, 1988.

Taylor, J.C. & White, V.J. Faculty attitudes towards teaching in the distance education mode: An exploratory investigation. Research in Distance Education; 7-11, 1991.

Lonsdale, A.. Changes in incentives, rewards, and sanctions. Higher Education Management, 5. 223-235, 1993.

Betts, K.S. Factors influencing faculty participation in distance education in postsecondary education in the United States: An institutional study. Doctoral dissertation, The George Washington University, 1998.

Schifter, C.C. Faculty Participation in Asynchronous Learning Networks: A Case Study of Motivating and Inhibiting Factors, Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, Vol. 4, No. 2, June, 2000.

Rockwell, S.K, Schauer, J., Fritz, S.M., & Marx, D.B. Incentives and Obstacles Influencing Higher Education Faculty and Administrators to Teach via Distance, Online Journal of Distance Education Administration, Vol.2, No. 4, Winter, 1999.

Rockwell, S.K, Schauer, J., Fritz, S.M., & Marx, D.B. Faculty Education, Assistance and Support Needed to Deliver Education via Distance, Online Journal of Distance Education Administration, Vol.3, No. 2, Summer, 2000.

Cross, K.P. Open Windows on Learning. The Cross Papers 2. League for Innovation in the Community College, June 1998.

Jaffee, D. Institutionalized Resistance to Asynchronous Learning Networks, Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, Vol. 2, No. 2, September, 1998.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v5i1.1886

Copyright (c) 2019 Sanford Gold