Myth Busters: Challenges Teaching in an Online World

Concurrent Session 4

Brief Abstract

Ready to bust some myths? This panel from the field of online learning will discuss several elearning myths including quality, instruction and student interaction, design, preparation, and delivery. Participants are encouraged to bring myths ready to be busted. Myths will be countered with research, industry standards, pedagogy, and effective practices.


Dr. Angela M. Gibson serves as Lecturer in the Higher Education Administration Leadership doctoral certificate and masters of Adult Education program at Texas A&M University - Kingsville. Additionally, she serves as faculty for the Online Learning Consortium Institute for Professional Development teaching in the Online Teaching Certificate Program, designing and facilitating workshops, and serving as a mentor to professional educators. She has taught first-year, senior, and graduate students, designed and developed curriculum, and created initiatives for student engagement, strategic learning, and innovation. In addition to roles during her 25 plus years in higher education, academics, and student affairs at a diverse set of colleges and universities, she made the rank of Professor at American Public University System. Angela received a Masters of Arts in Human Performance Systems, with a Graduate Certificate in Instructional Design, from Marymount University and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, with concentrations in Adult Education and Community College Education, from Texas A and M University - Kingsville. She has been published in various peer reviewed journals, is on journal editorial boards, presents at national and international conferences, and served on the Online Learning Conference Steering Committee and was the 2017 Chair of the Technology Test Kitchen. In 2019, Angela was a Campfire Keynote Speaker for the OLC Innovate Conference. Dr. Gibson is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador and volunteers as an informal STEM educator creating learning opportunities at schools and with community organizations as well as providing social media outreach for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). She is a recipient of the Online Learning Consortium 2014 Effective Practice Award.
Lori Kupczynski, Ed.D. has served over 20 years in higher education in the areas of English, Communication, Adult Education, Higher Education and Educational Leadership. She currently serves as a Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. Previously, she has served as Associate Professor and Program Director of the Educatonal Leadership doctoral program, doctoral level transcripted certificate program in Higher Education Administration and Leadership (HEAL) and the Adult Education Masters Program. She was the Recipient of the 2012 United States Distance Learning Association’s Outstanding Leadership by an Individual in the field of Distance Learning Award and the 2012 Distinguished Researcher Award from Texas A&M University-Kingsville. She also received the 2017 Outstanding Senior Faculty Award in the College of Education and Human Performance at TAMUK. Her research agenda focuses on developing a deeper understanding of interactions among adult learners in online learning environments through the development of grounded theory to explain the interactions within the Community of Inquiry Framework (CoI). A secondary track of research is on new and emerging technologies complementary to research with adult learners online. Lori has published over 75 peer reviewed articles in the field and has presented at numerous prestigious national and international conferences.
Clark Shah-Nelson serves as Assistant Dean of Instructional Design and Technology for the University of Maryland School of Social Work and is a doctoral student in Evidence-Based Management/Business Administration. Clark is an eLearning instructional design development professional with 25 years experience in educational technology innovations: teaching, designing leading award-winning online and distance learning teams for learning management platform implementation, training, end user support, professional development and engagement. He has presented at numerous online learning and ed tech conferences, was co-founder of the Blend-Online Educause constituent group, co-founding master chef of the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) Technology Test Kitchen, and has recently volunteered as Conference Co-Chair for OLC Innovate and Engagement Co-Chair for OLC Accelerate Clark has authored chapters on synchronous tools for teaching and learning support and co-authored a chapter on professional development installations. As a consultant, Clark has worked on several international projects in the realm of blended and online learning.

Extended Abstract

Ready to bust some myths?

Faculty, staff, and administrators, as well as students can have a feeling of reluctance in taking part in elearning.  And, for those teaching and learning in the online medium, there can also be an averseness to utilizing technology available for a blended or fully online course. Some of the hesitancy to embracing this mode of learning and interaction comes from myths – myths about online design, online teaching, and online learning.

This panel of seasoned individuals with experience in higher education and elearning, includes
an Assistant Dean of Instructional Design and Technology, an Associate Professor and researcher, an Educational Technology Specialist, and an Associate Director for Curriculum Innovation and OLC professional development facilitator. The panel will present several myths from the field of online teaching and learning including design, preparation, delivery (instruction). Each myth will be busted - as in refuted - with research, industry standards, pedagogy, and effective practices.

Participants are encouraged to bring myths or share out their own professional or institutionally based myths and the panel will provide research based effective practices with strategies and solutions to help bust those myths. Examples of some myths which will initial be presented are as follows.

Reluctance to adopting teaching online can stem from several factors. Faculty may enjoy the immediate interaction with learners in a face to face, real time setting.  The social component of a live-in person classroom is appealing to some. Also, such faculty might be averse to the content and the medium being more centric to the student learning; going from Sage on the Stage to Guide on the Side is a change in routine as well as style. Another area of concern from instructors may include how feedback, in verbal and non-verbal communication, from students is not immediate in asynchronous elearning environments (Hurst, 2015).  Online communication through announcements, messages, and discussion forum posts increases the connection of the student to the instructor and strengthens the connection to course content, fostering the integration of learning.

As that online teaching is not yet accepted by all institutions and administrators as equal to, or even better in, the quality of face to face instruction, some faculty may be concerned about “commitment to scholarship” (Ubell, 2017, para. 3) and status. And the consideration of quality of online content and the ability to have valued instruction in such mediums is still a question amongst our fellow colleagues at various institutions (Ubell, 2017).

Design considerations are, at times, a concern for faculty as instructors are typically hired as subject matter experts in their field and not instructional designers. Some may balk at the need to learn a system which provides the medium for online learning or the tools and strategies used to design or even instruct such courses. Though there are opportunities for professional development and for leveraging the expertise of those in an institution, faculty may see the design process for blended and online learning time consuming, arduous, and complex (Freeman & Tremlay, 2013).  Further, faculty can be reluctant to design and then instruct online stating apprehension that their particular field could not be taught in anything but a face to face medium (Schwartz, 2010).

Developing content and curating resources can be time consuming and may not yield effective practices. Faculty may feel they are going it alone and not supported in the process of transitioning to online course design and online teaching. Collaboration with librarians at colleges and universities and purposeful application of assets from institutional libraries can increase quality of instruction and excellence in learning. Awareness of how to increase quality instruction through application and integration of content and resources from libraries at colleges and universities will promote and increase teaching excellence within the class and at the institution (Association of College and Research Libraries, 2017).

Faculty and staff collaboration open lines of communication which promote sharing of resources as well as problem solving for instructional issues in the classroom. Development of assets with librarians, instructional designers, and fellow faculty as well as from repositories of other shared content address the transfer of learning and application of strategies to increase engagement with students. Tools aid in the design and delivery of instruction (Beetham, 2013). Connections to concepts help students tune into the course. The cognitive load is lightened through well designed instructional assets (van Merrienboer & Ayers, 2006).

These, and other myths on the quality, instructional efficacy, design, time management, and student interaction will be presented by the panel in a robust environment with welcomed and encouraged participation from the participants.



Association of College and Research Libraries. (2017). Academic library impact on student learning and success: findings from Assessment in Action team projects. Retrieved from

Beetham, H. (2013). Designing for Active Learning in Technology-Rich Contexts.  In H. Beetham and R. Sharpe (Eds.), Rethinking pedagogy for a digital age. Retrieved from

Freeman, W., & Tremlay, T. (2013). Design considerations for supporting the reluctant adoption of blended learning. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9(1). Retrieved from

Hurst, B. (2015). Making the move to online teaching: One reluctant professor’s informal self-study. TechTrends, 59(6), 35-40.

Ubell, R. (2017, January 10). Why faculty still don’t want to teach online. Retrieved from

Schwartz, J. (2010). Faculty perception of and resistance to online education in the fields of acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage therapy. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, 3(3), 20-31.  Retrieved from

van Merrienboer, J. J. G., & Ayers, P. (2006). Research on cognitive load theory and its design implications for e-learning. Educational Technology Research and Development, 53(3), 5-13. Retrieved from