Preparing Doctoral Students to Teach in an Increasingly Virtual World: A Response to COVID-19 and Beyond

Robbie Bishop-Monroe, Brandon Di Paulo Harrison, Margaret E. Knight, Cynthia Corritore, Brian J. Rybarczyk, Anne Stewart York


The recent global pandemic revealed just how unprepared faculty and doctoral students at many U.S. colleges and universities were to teach online. In this study, we investigate the extent to which current and recently graduated doctoral students are prepared to teach online, how they are rewarded for those online teaching skills, and how they could be more effectively prepared. To answer these questions, we surveyed the beliefs of doctoral students and recently graduated faculty members from a Midwestern private university and a Southeastern state university regarding online teaching preparedness compared with those of faculty, department chairs, and deans. We also used data from a summer teaching pilot program to explore best practices for improving doctoral students’ preparation to teach online. Findings suggest that educating doctoral students to teach in a virtual world can increase students’ confidence and ability to teach in this mode and can be cost effective if offered across disciplines. However, while doctoral students believe that online competency is important in hiring and tenure decisions, deans and department chairs do not necessarily agree, and few schools provide meaningful preparation for online teaching to their doctoral students.


online teaching preparedness, online teaching, online learning, doctoral student education, COVID-19

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Copyright (c) 2021 Robbie Bishop-Monroe, Brandon Di Paulo Harrison, Margaret E. Knight, Cynthia Corritore, Brian J. Rybarczyk, Anne Stewart York

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