A Comparative Typology of Student and Institutional Expectations of Online Faculty
Concurrent Session 7
Typically, online institutions have specific guidelines for faculty-to-student interactions; yet, student expectations of faculty may not necessarily align with institutional requirements. This presentation will include a typological analysis of institutional requirements for online faculty in terms of student engagement. Then, student comments regarding faculty performance expectations will be compared. We will explore a framework of best practices which should be adopted by institutions to ensure online student satisfaction with faculty is maximized.
Online education has seen unmatched expansion in the past few decased, and universities and colleges across the country have expanded to meet consumer demand for online programs. Institutional leaders are challenged to identify and uphold instructional best practices that meet the expectations and needs of students, while not being overly arduous for faculty, who often serve many institutions through adjunct work. With student retention closely tied to student satisfaction, studying online faculty practices that enhance student experience, engagement, and enjoyment in the online academic setting can have important consequences for better understanding student retention.
This presentation will include findings from a research study that arose after numerous discussions with online faculty who shared institutional expectations of performance, which often differed from the literature on student perceptions of quality faculty performance. Student experience is an essential element that should drive faculty mentoring approaches; especially in the context of developing a positive relationship. Yet, there appears to be a gap in the literature about the role of student experience as a driver of faculty expectations.
In order to ensure standards of faculty performance, many institutions dictate expectations that faculty must meet on a regular basis such as grading timelines, online course engagement, and student communication practices. Online faculty members are often expected to comply with these expectations as a condition of continued employment. What remains unclear is if the expectations of the institution regarding faculty-to-student engagement align with what students expect from faculty. In this research study, a typology was developed whereby institutional expectations for online faculty-to-student engagement were grouped into themes. Then, an analysis of qualitative student feedback regarding their expectations for online faculty was sorted into those typologies to add rich experiential depth to the typology.
The presenters will share the outcomes of the research and present a framwork of best practices that institutions might adopt to support faculty and students.