Understanding Faculty Attitudes about Distance Education: The Importance of Excitement and Fear

Jennifer Bunk, Rui Li, Esther Smidt, Christopher Bidetti, Brett Malize


The purpose of the present study is to further understand faculty attitudes about distance education by exploring the psychological processes through which these attitudes are influenced. We explored the following research question: Do feelings of excitement versus fear mediate and/or moderate the relationship between online teaching experience and various faculty attitudes about online education? Survey data from 152 part- and full-time faculty from a midsize public university in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States was utilized. Multiple regression analyses revealed that excitement versus fear mediates the relationship between online teaching experience and all of our outcome variables, and that excitement versus fear moderates the relationship between online teaching experience and the extent to which faculty feel that their institution is pushing too much instruction online. Our results demonstrate the importance of excitement versus fear in explaining why some faculty have negative rather than positive attitudes about distance education. Our results suggest that university administrators may find it helpful to implement policies and practices that instill a sense of excitement about distance education in all faculty.


Faculty attitudes, faculty emotion, online teaching experience

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v19i4.559

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