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Caribbean Journal of Education

Roles Reversed: Examining the Experiences of Faculty as Students in an Online Course

Publication Date: 
September 2010

In institutions of higher education, faculty members are increasingly being asked to teach their courses online, usually without any prior experience in this environment or any systematic training to teach in this mode. Faculty require professional development activities aimed at equipping them with the key competencies needed to teach in the online environment. Moving professional development activities for faculty from the face-to-face to the online environment has been explored as a way to increase access by making training more convenient to faculty. The purpose of this paper is to examine the experiences of faculty enrolled as students in an online learning course, aimed at providing them with the competencies required for repurposing their existing face-to-face courses for delivery online. Three methods were used to gather data: general participation in the course activities, postings to the Teacher Student Forum (a social web space designed for the course), and a focus group discussion conducted at the end of the course. The results indicated that participation in the course activities declined steadily over the period and the completion rate was very low. In general, participants indicated that being students online was an excellent learning opportunity for them and the experience will impact how they design their own online courses in the future.

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