Graduate Student Discovery Session: Community College Faculty Perceptions of Readiness & Confidence for Teaching Online: A Professional Development Study

Concurrent Session 2

Brief Abstract

This study examines faculty perspectives about confidence and readiness to teach online after completing the Online Pedagogy Program at Midwest Community College. Triangulation of qualitative and quantitative data provided outcomes that were shaped into recommendations for improvement to the design and delivery of the Online Pedagogy Program.

Additional Authors

Dr. Tammi Kolski is an adjunct faculty member at the University of South Carolina where she also serves as the dissertation chair and committee member of doctoral students in the Learning Design & Technologies Department. She is also an adjunct instructor at Coastal Carolina University, Southern New Hampshire University and Central Michigan University. Before entering the higher education field, Dr. Tammi Kolski was a clinical psychologist for more than 25 years. She has been teaching in the online environment since 2011 and places student engagement at the top of her course designs and pedagogy. Dr. Tammi Kolski has published multiple articles in education journals as well as co-authoring two books.

Extended Abstract

Regardless of how prepared faculty were to teach online classes, the COVID-19 pandemic forced leaders of universities and colleges nationwide to pivot to emergency remote teaching and forced students to take online classes. To prepare faculty for the shift to online instruction, higher education administrators in Centers for Teaching Excellence provided resources, such as online training, to orient less experienced instructors on the best practices of online education. At Midwest Community College, classes prior to the pandemic were predominantly taught in-person. The Online Pedagogy Program was developed in response to the need for urgent training of their faculty in effective online instruction. The goal was to develop a measurable level of knowledge and instructional growth related to delivering distance education. After more than 300 faculty completed the Online Pedagogy Program professional development training, it was time to evaluate faculty perceptions about readiness and confidence to teach online and the extent to which faculty perceived that the content in the training adequately prepared them to teach online. Did the Online Pedagogy Program meet its goal? Corresponding with the lead presenter’s doctoral dissertation research, the questions to be answered were:

1.   What are Midwest Community College faculty perceptions about the quality of the Online Pedagogy Program? 

2.   What are Midwest Community College faculty perceptions about their readiness to teach online after completing the Online Pedagogy Program? 

3.   What are Midwest Community College faculty perceptions about their confidence to teach online after completing the Online Pedagogy Program? 

To meet the demand for highly skilled online faculty, faculty professional development plays a significant role. Yet, a limited body of research exists regarding how higher education institutions have developed effective professional development to support evidence-based teaching practices for faculty who teach online. It is important that administrators in higher education evaluate faculty perspectives to help shape future iterations of professional development programs; to learn about the participants’ reaction to the training and to identify effective components of the training to improve the program and have faculty become more confident in their online pedagogy. Two theoretical frameworks underpinning this research were the adult learning theory and the constructivist learning theory.  Acknowledging there are other reputable program evaluation models, the Kirkpatrick four-tiered model of program evaluation aligned best with the Midwest Community College program evaluation philosophy of objectively and subjectively measuring the effectiveness of their faculty professional development training.

Using an action research mixed methods design, data were collected using the Online Pedagogy Program End-of-Course Evaluation, an adapted Faculty Readiness to Teach Online instrument, an adapted Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge instrument, and semi-structured individual interviews. The results of the quantitative and qualitative data converged to reveal faculty perspectives about readiness (importance) regarding the relevancy of technology and teaching, online teaching competencies, and managerial aspects of online teaching. Faculty perspectives about confidence (ability) to use instructional strategies to effectively teach online were also revealed. The results of this research will be shared with stakeholders at Midwest Community College in the form of recommendations for improvements to the Online Pedagogy Program.

Attendee Takeaways

Implications of the research will benefit those in the field of higher education faculty training, program design, and program evaluation at large. As the immediacy of emergency remote teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic fades, instituting effective training programs that build confidence in instructors to teach in the online environment is an ongoing need. Effective evaluation of faculty professional development programs that improve instructional strategies and promote teaching excellence is also an ongoing need. 


Attendees will interact with the presenter and other attendees through interactive video and asynchronous discussions using PlayPosit. The delivery of this research will be timed to allow for questions to be asked and answered at the end.

At the time of this proposal submission, the data collection phase of the study is ending. By the time of the conference presentation, data analysis will be completed with the outcomes being shared as a part of the presentation. The writing of the dissertation manuscript will be in its final revisions come April 2023.