Faculty Fellows Experiences in Engaging in Online Learning Research

Concurrent Session 8

Brief Abstract

Encouraging faculty research on online teaching and learning is important to the development of the field. In this panel discussion, a group of faculty research fellows will share their experiences conducting research, discuss the professional benefits they gained from the program, and discuss how their research projects have impacted students.

Sponsored By

Presenters

Mary Ellen Dello Stritto is the assistant director of the Ecampus Research Unit at Oregon State University and is involved with the design and implementation of research studies on online/distance education. She manages and oversees statistical analyses for the research unit. Dello Stritto also directs the Research Fellows Program for faculty. She has a background in psychology with a specialization in quantitative methodologies, survey design, and statistical analysis.

Extended Abstract

Distance education research has a rapidly growing body of published literature, but many gaps remain. Encouraging faculty research on online teaching and learning is imperative to the development of the field of online education. It is important to incentivize this research when possible and provide staff support as faculty engage in the IRB, research design, and data collection and analysis processes. This discussion will offer one example of how this has been done at an R1 university with a cross-disciplinary fellows program.

The Ecampus Research Fellows (ECRF) Program at Oregon State University provides funds to support the research, development, and scholarship efforts of faculty in the area of distance/online education. The ECRF Program is currently in its third year of supporting faculty research. Fellows are funded for 1.5 years to engage in an independent research project on a topic related to online teaching and learning. Each fellow completes an IRB-approved independent research project; writes a white paper on the subject of their independent research project to be published by the Ecampus Research Unit; attends regular cohort meetings; presents their research at an annual Ecampus Faculty Forum at Oregon State and provides a summary report on their experience. Each fellow is also awarded additional travel funds to support the dissemination of results at an online teaching and learning conference.

The first cohort of projects was funded in the 2016 with eight fellows funded for five projects. In the second year, three fellows were funded for three projects. Six projects by six fellows were funded in 2018. In this panel discussion, OSU Ecampus research fellows representing a range of disciplines will share their experiences conducting research on online teaching and learning. Panelists will discuss the professional benefits they gained from the fellows program, and how their research connects to the outcomes of students in their courses. This panel presentation will be moderated by the Assistant Director of the Ecampus Research Unit. Attendees will receive a handout that outlines the fellows program and have the opportunity to ask questions of both the fellows and the program director.

Objective 1: Attendees will leave with an example of how to structure a research fellows program for faculty
Objective 2: Attendees will leave with an awareness of the scope of distance/online research projects that could be supported by a research fellows program
Objective 3: Attendees will leave with an understanding of the benefits of a research fellows program for both faculty and their students.