Online Teaching and Learning in Developmental Education: An Instructor Perspective
Despite the upsurge in online developmental education course offerings in recent years, there is a dearth in knowledge on the optimal context to support such courses, and on how they are being taught, perceived and experienced by instructors. This study sought to explore how online developmental education courses are being taught, who is teaching them, and what factors, practices, and supports play a role in online teaching and learning.
The study roots its analysis in the instructors who teach developmental education online, specifically through the examination of their experiences, practices, and perceptions around online teaching and learning. In doing so, it seeks to inspire new avenues for research and knowledge on online instruction of developmental education courses, which can in turn serve as a catalyst for innovations in online developmental education in the face of growing demand.
The study revealed that instructors of online developmental education are well-trained in online technologies, and while they are concerned about the potential lack of institutional supports and student pre-requisite knowledge for online courses, they proactively seek out mechanisms to overcome these obstacles. Furthermore, although instructors of online developmental education expressed concern about whether their students possessed the necessary pre-requisite skills to succeed in online courses, they placed less emphasis on the importance of face-to-face communication than their counterparts who teach in face-to-face formats only. Instead, they appeared to seek out or instill mechanisms to overcome the lack of face-to-face contact, including sending personalized, frequent emails of encouragement to students, creating open, threat-free bulletin board environments, and supplementing online content with instructor-voice recordings.