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The factor structure of teaching development needs for distance-delivered e-learning

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Abstract:

The purpose of this study was to better identify directions for addressing the needs of academics in institutions of higher education who teach technologically-mediated, distance-delivered courses. This single-case study aimed to examine the factor structure of a 16-item survey. The data for this study were drawn from a larger survey which examined the structures and practices that can improve technologically-mediated distance-delivered teaching practices. The participants (n=187) from this study were from a dedicated distance delivery institution in Canada. The findings revealed a four-factor model: (1) technical (Internet/Web resources); (2) social (interpersonal skills); (3) pedagogical (cognitive); and (4) managerial (teaching). The constructs identified were associated with the unique characteristics of teaching distance-delivered courses using Web and Internet-based communication tools - or 'e-learning'. The findings of this study should be of value to faculty developers whose institutions also offer distance-delivered e-learning courses and programs. Le but de cette etude etait de mieux identifier les facons avec lesquelles repondre aux besoins des universitaires qui enseignent dans le cadre de cours donnes a distance, a l'aide de technologies. Cette etude de cas visait a examiner la structure factorielle d'un sondage a 16 items. Les donnees de cette etude ont ete tirees d'un sondage plus vaste ayant examine les structures et les pratiques permettant d'ameliorer les pratiques enseignantes a distance soutenues par les technologies. Les participants (n=187) a cette etude proviennent d'une institution vouee a l'enseignement a distance au Canada. Les resultats indiquent la presence d'un modele a quatre facteurs: (1) technique (ressources Internet/Web), (2) social (competences interpersonnelles), (3) pedagogique (cognitif) et (4) managerial (enseignement). Les elements identifies etaient associes aux caracteristiques particulieres de l'enseignement de cours a distance faisant appel au Web et a des outils de communication reposant sur l'Internet (le « e-learning »). Les resultats de cette etude devraient etre utiles pour les conseillers pedagogiques provenant d'institutions offrant des cours et des programmes a distance au moyen du e-learning.

Keywords: confirmating factor analysis; distance education; e-learning; faculty development; higher education; internet and web; teaching development

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13601440802076608

Affiliations: Centre for Distance Education, Athabasca University, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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