In transition: the journey of adult educators from traditional teaching into teaching online.
Bicek, Elizabeth A.
MetadataShow full item record
As adult educators travel the asynchronous, online frontier they face many exciting challenges and opportunities. The realities facing adult educators, new to teaching online, include learning new technologies, adapting pedagogy, understanding the online roles of teachers and students and working collaboratively with their organizations to develop legacies of support and training for colleagues preparing to join them on their online journey. This study explored the question “What are the realities facing adult educators in the initial stages of the role as asynchronous, online teachers? This research utilizes a qualitative case study design. Using a semi-structured interview format, four adult educators that had facilitated a minimum of one online course were interviewed. Additional required characteristics were experience as an adult educator in a traditional classroom setting and, as a group, presented a range of experience in online teaching. Patterns in the data were identified using the constant comparison method, until a picture of similarities and differences emerged. Two sets of key findings emerged. First, four major elements or roles affect the transition to teaching online. These roles are interdependent because each role affects or is influenced by the online teaching and learning process, work together to create the greater e-learning community. The four roles are: the role of the teacher, the role of technology, the role of the learner and the role of the organization. Second, upon further analysis, a pattern of three groups of learners surfaced. These groups are: students as learners, teachers as learners and organizations as learners. It is surmised that how well these learning groups are supported and trained will influence how each learning group is affected by or influenced by the other learning groups. Recommendations for further study include a longitudinal study of a traditional organization transitioning into online teaching and learning to explore how the greater e-learning community is affected by or influences the online teaching and learning process. Adult educators transitioning to teaching online require: personal comfort and competence with related online technologies, an organization knowledgeable and sensitive to distance teaching and learning, initial assessment and training in the knowledge, skills and attitudes required of online teachers, and opportunities to access support and training to meet emerging needs.