The Faculty Transition From Emergency Remote Teaching to a Quality Online Course

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Brief Abstract

The shut-down of in-person learning at higher education institutions due to COVID-19 created the need for on-campus courses to immediately transition to ERT during spring 2020. Effectve professoinal development that helped transition in-person faculty to online faculty is being reviewed intensely to find patterns for what worked and what did not.


Kathryn Achen is an Assistant Professor of Business and the Director of Online Quality Assurance at New Mexico State University - Dona Ana Community College in Las Cruces, NM.

Extended Abstract

The shut-down of in-person learning at higher education institutions due to the COVID-19 pandemic created the need for on-campus courses to immediately transition to Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT) during the spring 2020 semester. During the summer months, institutions scrambled to provide professional development and support to assist their faculty to transition their ERT to online quality courses for the fall 2020 semester. This process is being reviewed intensely by many to find patterns for what worked and what did not. Implications of this determination will be impactful to faculty professional development planning and expectations for faculty in online course design and delivery.

Stakeholders in higher education realize the importance and urgency of keeping online options available to students to continue working toward their degree not only during this crisis, or a natural disaster but also in students' personal challenges. With the desire and obligation to ensure student success, dedication to improving Emergency Remote Teaching is imperative. It has been a common conception that online learning is less effective than face-to-face learning, even though there is much research proving otherwise. The transition to ERT could reinforce this misconception even though there was no time afforded to even the experienced online instructor who understands the online format. This dissertation research discovered effective approaches to online faculty development during the transition of ERT courses to quality online education for higher education courses. Professional development training and support met the perceived needs of the online faculty, and the faculty increased their intrinsic motivation with the belief that professionaldevelopment is an ongoing part of their teaching responsibilities. Findings will assist institutions with evidence-based planning to provide organizational support, align the goals of stakeholders, and create a culture for online learning that includes quality assurance standards, expectations for best practices, and training opportunities that prepare faculty to provide quality online education that students expect and deserve. 

The discussion of Andragogy, Heutagogy, and Transformative Learning provides the theoretical perspectives of working with adults and technology while the Community of Inquiry provides the theoretical framework. My dissertation research was conducted from the qualitative paradigm using a Phenomenological Approach to the inquiry by discovering the lived experiences of a particular phenomenon, such as relying on Emergency Remote Teaching during COVID-19 and then transitioning to quality online courses. The Phenomenological approach looks to describe and understand the lived experience of an individual to study the essence of an experience (Merriam, 2002).