Faculty Perceptions of How Their Altruistic and Servant Teaching Behaviors Influence Student Learning

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Brief Abstract

This session examines the influence of instructor behaviors and student learning by applying servant teaching theory and altruism theory. Faculty, administrators, and students who attend this session will gain a better understanding of how instructor behaviors can influence students to overcome barriers, and equip faculty to help students reach academic success.

Extended Abstract

The 21st century brought online education from a concept to a reality around the globe. With the advent of the asynchronous environment, education can be available to students any time and any day. This accessibility offers the potential of many more students completing coursework around the clock. However, an increase in students means facilitating their academic needs and promoting their learning. A key theme among colleges and universities is student retention and completion, underscoring student learning as a central concept. Retaining these online students in a way that moves them toward completion and promotes their sense of community becomes a pressing issue.

An examination of the literature revealed some of the key concepts relating to the online platform. These include the need for readying students for learning through technology (Alamin, Shaoqing, & Le, 2015), and a framework for understanding online instruction, which includes social presence, cognitive presence and teaching presence (Bair & Bair, 2011; Kozan, 2016). The online platform may offer many alternatives for education, but it also requires that the faculty member possess the knowledge of its use and the ability to use it for the benefit of the student. Students must feel a sense of belonging in the virtual classroom and effective motivation for student learning (Mann, 2014; van de Bunt-Kokhuis & Sultan, 2012). The effective faculty member must be able to create such an environment to facilitate student learning.

This session will examine the applications of two theories, altruism theory and servant teaching theory. Insight gained from the application of these theories in the online classroom may offer possible guidance in managing the asynchronous classroom and influencing student learning. This process includes building rapport, expressing values, and developing accountability.

Faculty who attend this session will gain a better understanding of reaching students, and influencing them toward success. In addition, they can use what they learn to mentor fellow faculty. Administrators attending this session will discover desirable traits to look for when hiring new faculty, as well as using these traits in the development of faculty training. Curriculum developers who attend this session will have the opportunity to adapt these concepts in the design, presentation, and assessment of material. Students will walk out of this session with a big-picture understanding of the dynamics of this modality, including the barriers present, the importance of self-motivation, and the role of the instructor in their success.