Encouraging Innovation: Troubleshooting the Slow Adoption of Online Learning

Concurrent Session 4

Brief Abstract

A discussion addressing challenges in the areas of resistance to online education across disciplines within a university. The discussion between the audience and presenters will recognize strategies around overcoming such resistance.


Stephanie Parisi is the associate director of online education in the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence. She serves and supports faculty in their online teaching endeavors and assists in the development online programming. Stephanie has collaborated with faculty across campus to develop massive open online courses (MOOCs) on the Coursera platform and has also served as an advisor and instructional designer for online trainings and eLearning development. She has presented at professional conferences, including the Online Learning Consortium, Ed-Media, and Association for Educational Communications and Technology.

Extended Abstract

This session will feature an organized discussion focused on resistance around online learning adoption. The speakers will present findings within their specific disciplines, as well as other disciplines at Emory University. The discussion will consider various administrative approaches to the adoption of online education and will debate the pros and cons of top down mandates for online education and how it is implemented.

The session will begin with a brief introduction of the speakers and they will each discuss their role with the university, including specific challenges around online learning adoption and faculty support. Following this, there will be an open floor conversation addressing issues related to resistance towards online education. The discussion will be moderated by the panelists and guiding questions will be provided. A sample of questions could include:

  1. Without a top/down approach from the University administration, how has online learning been adopted at other institutions?
  2. How have the levels of resistance been mitigated within your University?
  3. Are there some disciplines that are more inclined to adopt online learning than others?
  4. Do the amount of resources available influence the likelihood to adopt online learning?
  5. Are monetary incentives necessary for the adoption of online learning?
  6. Do you find that certain disciplines have greater challenges than others when it comes to adoption of online education?
  7. How are online learning supports distributed throughout your institution? (School-based vs. centralized)
  8. Do you think that moving to online education is critical to the success of your institution or school? What are the driving pressures?
  9. Do you think the rise of MOOCs affected adoption?
  10. Does the opportunity for outsourcing online course development improve the odds for adoption?

The purpose of this presentation is to spark discussion around common issues related to the adoption of online education within higher education. Throughout the conversation, attendees will have the opportunity to share challenges, best practices, and solutions. Panelists will share personal anecdotes around what has worked and what has not worked within their experiences.