EdTech & the Faculty Role: Changing Expectations and Career Implications

Concurrent Session 3

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

BRIEF ABSTRACT: This roundtable discussion explores the impact of educational technology and online learning on the faculty job role and faculty career. 


Catherine Honig, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor and Chair, MBA Program in National Louis University's College of Professional Studies and Advancement (CPSA). She earned her doctorate in industrial/organizational psychology from Bowling Green State University and has over 25 years of higher education teaching experience. She currently designs and teaches online courses in leadership and I/O psychology, and her research interests place emphasis on high-touch online instruction, student perceptions of online and blended learning, and the impact of EdTech tools on student learning and engagement in online courses. Catherine also serves as the Editor of MERLOT's Psychology Editorial Board.
Sherri currently serves as the Senior Executive Director of the Office of Digital and Online Learning at Coastal Carolina University. She is an Associated Faculty with the Psychology Department at CCU, and specializes in teaching senior-level classes in lifespan psychology, such as Child Development, Adolescent Development, and Gerontology. Sherri has served in academia within the field of online learning for over 20 years in the role of instructional designer, LMS administrator, faculty, and over the last decade plus as a university-level administrator. In addition to her work with Coastal, Sherri also serves the MERLOT organization as the Editor of the Professional Coaching board, as well as an editorial board member and peer reviewer for the Psychology MERLOT board. Her research focuses on methods for improving student success in the academic environment, to include all modalities of learning (online, face-to-face, hybrid, flipped, etc.) and inclusive design and tools. She has worked as a consultant for a number of organizations to support the development of online learning initiatives.
B. Jean Mandernach, Ph.D. is Executive Director of the Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching at Grand Canyon University. Her research focuses on enhancing student learning in the online classroom through innovative instructional and assessment strategies. In addition, she has interests in the development of effective faculty evaluation models, perception of online degrees, and faculty workload considerations. Jean received her B.S. in comprehensive psychology from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, an M.S. in experimental psychology from Western Illinois University and Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
Julie Evey, Ph.D., taught full time at the University of Southern Indiana for 17 years in the Department of Psychology. During that time she held multiple administrative roles including Chair of Psychology and Assistant Dean of Liberal Arts. She began teaching online in 2006 and has been affiliated with Merlot since 2002. She continues to teach online courses for the University of Southern Indiana, but left her full time position in 2015 to pursue other interests. She earned her Ph.D. from Kent State University in Cognitive Psychology with a specialty in children's language development.

Extended Abstract

ISSUE/OPPORTUNITY: Pedagogical effectiveness in today’s faculty role requires both full-time faculty and adjunct faculty to attain a broad constellation of EdTech skills, such as knowledge of online and blended course design frameworks, familiarity with multiple learning management systems, social media fluency, and the ability to locate and use open educational resources (OER).

The much-cited Babson Survey Research Group’s 2015 Online Report Card confirms that a majority of academic leaders (63%) view online learning as “critical” (p. 5) to university-level strategy yet “only 29.1% of chief academic officers believe their faculty accept the value and legitimacy of online education” (p. 10). These data confirm the mainstream role of EdTech in academia while simultaneously pointing to the considerable expectations placed upon faculty who serve at an institution that has adopted this strategy.

Reprising a popular annual tradition at OLC Innovate, this proposed roundtable discussion provides an opportunity for conference participants to explore the intersection of educational technology and the faculty role. Specific focus will be placed on how faculty members can leverage educational technology and online learning initiatives in efforts towards high-quality pedagogy, service excellence, and career development.

TARGET AUDIENCE: The target audience includes full-time faculty, adjunct faculty, university administrators, instructional designers, and professionals seeking a faculty role. Individuals currently serving in EdTech roles transitioning to faculty—and faculty transitioning to EdTech roles—may also find this discussion useful.

DISCUSSION PROTOCOL: The following discussion protocol depicts the main points that will be covered. A select panel of representatives within the fields of teaching, online learning, and EdTech pedagogy will lead the discussion.

  • In your experience, how does educational technology (and innovative uses of educational technology, in particular) figure into career attainment and career progression for faculty members seeking tenure or promotion?
  • Are there initiatives, projects, committees, or special assignments that faculty should seek? What initiatives get noticed?
  • What professional development opportunities are most beneficial relative to EdTech? Why?
  • How does educational technology figure into the picture for adjunct faculty members seeking part-time assignments?
  • How can innovative uses of educational technology drive career attainment or career advancement for those seeking full-time academic careers in educational technology?
  • Social media/networking: What is the best way for faculty to promote/position their EdTech knowledge and experience?

The session is designed for high interaction, and attendees will be encouraged to share experiences and ideas that reveal emerging faculty career progression trends as impacted by educational technology. 

TAKEAWAYS:  The discussion protocol is designed to lead to a specific set of takeaways that include:

  • Illustrations of innovative technology use in the faculty role and how they relate to the faculty career.
  • Professional development approaches that lead to career advancement and growth (e.g., committee assignments, projects, organizational memberships and positions).
  • Self-promotion and networking approaches.
  • A list of resources compiled by the Career Forum panelists (and made available to all participants via the OLC Innovate Conference website).

Allen, E., Seaman, J., Poulin, R., & Straut, T.  (2016, February).  Online report card - tracking online education in the United States. Retrieved from: http://onlinelearningconsortium.org/read/online-report-card-tracking-online-education-united-states-2015/