New study discusses the skills and motivations of qualified online faculty in order to prevent burnout, inefficiency.


Not all faculty are created equal for online learning, argues a new report.

In the midst of low retention rates and lingering perceptions of faculty around the quality of online learning, it’s never been more important to identify what makes effective, and motivated, online faculty, says Dr. Lisa Marie Portugal, education professor at the University of Phoenix.

Knowing what skills and motivations are needed by online faculty “may be useful to stakeholders such as administrators, faculty mentors, faculty trainers, and faculty interested in employment in the modality so that identifiable and realistic criteria may be available upon which to base future hiring standards, employment practices, training, and decisions about teaching online,” she explained. “Insights about procedures and practices have been identified that may be effective in helping to develop initial training programs, faculty mentor supports, administrative decisions, and on-going faculty training.

Using phenomenological data (qualitative analysis of narrative data) from 12 online faculty with three or more years of experience in online teaching at many institutions, Portugal’s report highlights 5 skills all online faculty should possess, as well as how these skills differ from traditional skills, and factors that could lead to job burnout.

(Next page: 5 skills and how they differ from traditional skills)

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