Faculty Perception of Online Learning Since the Pandemic

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. Kathleen Ives, Senior Vice President for Engagement at UPCEA, joins the podcast to discuss why faculty perception of online learning hasn’t really improved since the start of the pandemic and the institutional support differences where she’s seeing some exceptions to that rule.

The infrastructure wasn't in place froma text, support perspective and pedagogy a pedagogical support wasn'tavailable either, and so what I would hear were a common complaint like lackof interaction and motivation. They were dealing with technical issues andthe bottom line is: is that backlet, just worn equipped to handle thesetasks? You're listening to enrollment growth,university from helic education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow in Roman at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh and Roman growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources? You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show, welcome back to enrolment growthuniversity, a proud member of the connect ev podcast network, I'm EricOlsen with heeles education and we're here today with Dr Kathleen Ives SeniorVice President for engagement at up Sia Kathleen welcome to the show well.Thank you so much Eric, that's good to be here really excited to have you hereand talk with you today about our faculties perception of online learningsince the start of the pandemic. Before we dig into that, can you get thelisteners a little background on both up sea and your rule? There yeah so opCSS for the university, professional and Continuing Education Association,and we are a member driven association that focuses on Best Practices inhigher education and my background in online education.As I actually was an online student, I got my doctorate online and I also andcurrently an adgents or at Wentworth Institute of Technology here in Boston. Prior to my physician at APCIA I wasthe CEO of the online learning consortium. So that's just a little bitabout me. I love that you can tap into your faculty students and professionallanes for this conversation absolutely...

Callin to kick us off today. Ouremergency, remote learning experience at the beginning of the panem appearsto have been a largely negative experience for both students andfaculty, but has faculties perception of online learning actually improves.Since you know, I need to answer this question. It depends, but I'm going to.It really depends on the institution and the lessons learned and applied sothat perception was typically held by faculty that were new to on rangteaching and learning, which in turn, obviously would impact the studentsperception if the instructor wasn't comfortable- and you might ask why andfor many of these institutions, the infrastructure wasn't in place from atext, support perspective and Pedagogia, a pedagogical support wasn't availableeither, and so what I would hear were a comic complaints like lack ofinteraction and motivation. They were dealing with technical issues and thebottom line is: is that faculty just Warn't equipped to handle these tasksagain? These are faculties that are new to online and so then you'd layer onthe additional issues like working at home and mental health issues forstudents, because often they became counselors for students as well. It waspretty overwhelming, and so that's why the perception was clouded and if theinstitution hasn't stepped up, since this whole thing started, it stillremains clouded for this particular population yeah. I think all thosespectres make a lot of sense, especially the we weren't ready toprovide a great experience. This quickly, but I think my question and Ithink a lot of this kind of counterintuitive researches coming back,is why isn't our online experience progressively improving over time nowthat we've had time to improve it? Now that our faculty is at least had moreexperience, teaching within it, even if...

...they haven't had the support they'dlike from their institution and as we learn more and more about what worksand doesn't why aren't we seeing a faculty favorably increase? What'shappening is- and I know if you will know in your listen as well now- isthat the pandemics effect included deep cuts and institutional revenue, as wellas in student enrollment. So even if an institution felt that online educationwas equal to face to face after all of this or even better, if there was nomoney to invest in the technology and there was no money to invest in fact,ulty development. This experience didn't change for faculty or for thestudents, and the other thing that I think is also important to know is thatthere was and still is, lower participation from low income students,stom of color and stimslocated. In remote areas, so the whole notion ofaccessibility and support and equity is a huge concern right now again forfaculty, particularly if there is no institution wide support services oreven proactive, advising models. You mentioned this concept of it's been ahard couple of years, not only for faculty, but for the population. Anaggregate. Do you have a feeling of what role faculty burn out from thelast two years is playing in terms of not only their attitude and to look outoutlook in general, but specifically toward online learning? Do we knowenough to be able to separate if there's having a hard time in generalversus really, we think there is a fundamental issue with online learningthat we're not able to get over that hurdle yeah. So I think, let's defineBurnat, we'll kind of have the same definition as we're having thisconversation. So for me burn out it results from unclear expectations ofresponsibilities, unhealthy work,...

...environments, Lack of control over warglobe, and also that lack of work, life balance and, if you're, an Patun, it'seven more stressful, because you don't have job security and you're workingaround the clock, and the other thing that's really important to consider isthe emotional weight of the job. So the faculty wall is one: That's filled withtasks that require a lot of emotional energy, and the other thing too, isthat it's often a really solitary journey. I think, what's reallyimportant to note too, is that faculty burn out is not a system of thepandemic. The pandemic exacerbated this particularly for those new onlinebecause they had to translate face to face work to an online modality,support their students, own mental health and juggle their own personaland family responsibilities, and the bottom line is online, is more work,there's no way getting around it. However, the good news is that thepandemic brought Batley burn out to the forefront with those that are immersedin online education. You know in many institutions, as I'm sure you well know,online education might be just in one department or in a unit and reallysenior level administrators. Don't really have an idea as to what goesinto creating and delivering an online corse, and so now that's fall out onthe table. Right faculty voices have been heard, and so many institutionsright now beginning to take a more holistic look at how they can helpeason of weight burn out from mental health initiatives to other types ofsupport, and I think the key is is established in a culture of support andunderstanding that translates through the whole institution, maybe evencreating opportunities for faculty to...

...get together virtually and share bestpractices that they can't get together face to face, and maybe even that andseek suggestions. Some institutions are creating pure mentoring programs, whichis really helpful, and then I think the other thing too is online education andagain, I know this from being a faculty member, and a student often is seen asa twenty four seven environment students have no no hesitation to email.You or call you at any time of day or night, and so just respecting that worklife balance is super important. He mentioned how faculties attitudes maydepend very greatly, depending on what institution they're coming from andwhat kind of larger tech and institutional wide support theirreceiving. Can you point to any silver lining examples here: examples of theAmon experience improving last year from a faculty standpoint, so to giveus some hope, Caplin, yeah, yeah, so so eric there was a survey that wasconducted in April of this year and it showed that, despite the quicktransition from online learning, a majority of students want believe thisor not want the option to take courses in a fully online format and for thosethat are interested. The survey is called the digital learning pulsesurvey and it was published by baby, analytic and partnership with myorganization, as well as several other organizations, I'm actually currentlyworking on editing and authoring a book. It's my second book for StylesPublishing About Return on investment and online higher education and as partof my research, I had the opportunity to interview presidents at diversegroups of institutions like a four year for profit and BC to your technical, etCetera, and I asked them about the pandemic and they all agree that theyhave reimagined their strategic commands to incorporate best practices,learn and in fact some of them have...

...accelerated some of their technologyplans because of the pandemic. So I think that's that's good news. Theother thing too, I mean there's all kinds of other things that arehappening. I think Internet and technology access is become a priorityin education, as well as with the United States government. Take thecontroversial infrastructure bill. That's currently being debated andthere's been so many technological advances. Within the past eighteenmonths, I actually been using a tool called pack back, which is an AI powerdiscussion platform that really helps you know helps me mitigate my work loadbecause it does a lot of the work and helps frame that that practiceaccordingly. The other thing I want to to point out Eric is that pedagogicalbest practices is now come to the forefront. So at my organization,professional development involvements are on the ride and faculty that I talkto are reporting that they're paying greater attention to planning theircurriculum and strategies, thinking about an online learning space whichthey really you know many of them hadn't been doing before and finally-and I think this is also really interesting and not surprising- is thatsome new online students are actually thriving in an online classroom and andlet's talk about students that may suffer from anxiety disorders or maybeare dealing with some disabilities and the online learning environment canactually be a safe space for them. Cathleen, you mention this in terms offinding communities and places for faculty to talk, share, learn from eachother vent. What can we do to make sure that that conversation happens withinan institution within a broader system within the broader national system, tomake sure that we're learning we're leveraging from everyone else's onlineand learning experiences right now?...

Good and bad? That's a great questionand I think it's going to take effort on everyone's part. There's no magicbullet. I mean we're now existing it. You know I hate to call me normal. Ithink everyone calls it that, but who knows what the new normal is, but it'schanging every day, so maybe it's better couched and we're living in atime of ambiguity and we may be living in that time for a while, and so what Iwould do is encourage people to share what you don't know, as well as whatyou gained with with other faculty administrators members of your ownacademic community and again, if you belong to an association if you'reworking with vendors, these are great places to go and find out what they'velearned during the pandemic and what they can share, conducting your ownresearch and yeah. Maybe this is a little bit labor intensive, but just inreading you know and listening to podcast such is the ones that you allput out. You can hear about interesting things that are, you know that arebeing implemented. For example, I've heard about an institution that isenhancing wi by networks, with solar power, charged stations and creatinghot spot and laptop loan programs and even simple things like providingbusiness phone access to those working remotely and Creating Faculty coachingand mentoring models. so by staying, engaged and proactively seeking out youcan you can learn these things. I think I also would say: Don't ignore thestudent voice, so they've got a lot of opinions about this these past eighteenmonths and just even conduct an informal survey with them to find outwhat they felt worked and didn't work. The other thing, too, is many of themstill need coaching on how to navigate the online environment. You know evenhow to plan to study in a remote environment. It may seem obvious tosome because in face to days classes we have a lot of physical reminders thattell us when things are due, but you...

...don't necessarily in a remoteenvironment and also if they're working on group projects helping themestablish, a methodology did communicate rapidly and even maybeprovide a platform for them to do that. So these are just some thoughts I haveon how we can make sure that we're learning from what others are doing somany wonderful pots there kathleen it w probably steals into my last questionfor you. Maybe this is a a good, just wrap up question of things that wehaven't covered at our top of of mine from from living in this trifle world.Of of you know, student faculty and professional any final next steps,advice, Prince Susan's, listening aware of the problem, aren't too sure what todo about it in besides. Let's hope that you know the new normal becomes the oldnormal. They do want to improve, not only their faculties perception of theonline instating experience, but their realitye. Where should they start? Howshould they try to prioritize that task? Sure I think the best advice that I'vebeen sharing actually came from an organization called Titan partners, andlast year they published a paper called time for class and they call it thetime for class the ovid nineteen edition and I'd like to share some oftheir suggestions, because I think they're just so so timely and right on.First of all, they said that we should begin to use the moment of thiswatershed moment and that's their words, not mine, to elevate our approaches toonline and high bred instruction. What they found is that there is a positivemomentum in terms of faculty attitudes about the potential of online learningand that adoption of digital learning practices and tools are occurring atrecord rates, and the other thing that I think you know getting back to yourgood news questions is that institutions are moving beyond bandates to scaling approaches to deliver...

...high quality online instruction. Thesecond thing that they offer up is to evaluate the impact. This shift ishaving on different student populations, and I did touch on that a bit earlier.The whole notion of equity, which continues to remain a systemic andmajor concern for faculty, such as myself as we plan instruction andrelying on institution, Wide Support Services and proactive, advising models.The third thing and I'm gonna I'm on to elaborate a little bit more on thispoint, because I think it's so important is to provide support in theselection and implementation of digital tools and pedagogy effectively, so thepandemic prompted permanent shifts for many institutions and digital tooladoption. But the main thing here is that faculty reported that they weretruly overwhelmed with the sheer volume of choices, as you can imagine. So whatthey've been doing is their pequins. You know, and I get it it's an easy oneto do is to adopt from you know existing trusted vendors. That toolshave been been bedded and supported by their institution, but what Titan saysis that how a digital course war tools implement implemented. Excuse mematters more than the product selected and determining faculty satisfaction. So I thought that was a reallyimportant point to kind of focus on just two more things that I want to add.Eric is that you know getting back to being more student, centric reallyfocus on the students having the right tools and they're prepared to learnonline, as I mentioned earlier faculty, or noting that students continue toneed guidance and resources and bordered when I order to be effective,so you need to develop an institution need to develop some consistency indelivering their online courses for students and then finally, Titan reallyemphasize that institutions need to...

...assess their digital learninginfrastructure and business models. What they noted is that transitioningto a future with more digital instruction, requires a bigtransformation of existing business models, institutional policies andpractices, and so selecting and implementing tools and providingprofessional development is really important in this new normal.Definitely, thank you. So much of your time and your wonderful thoughts today,what's the best place for listeners to reach out to your your team. If theyhave any follow up questions yeah they can reach me and my email address issuper easy. It's K ives at UPSA, up, CACOM and feel free to reach out to me,and if I don't know the answer, I certainly can direct them to someonethat does awesome. Definitely thanks! So much for joining us today. Thank youagain Eric for having me attracting today's new post. Traditional learnersmeans adopting new enrollment strategies. He licks educations datadriven enterprise, wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helpingcolleges and universities thrive in this new education, landscape and Helixhas just published the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook,with fifty percent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's mostpressing and romant growth challenges download it today for free at HelixEducation Com play book, you've been listening to enrolmentgrowth university from helic education to ensure that you never miss anepisode subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thankyou so much for listening until next time. I.

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