Pedagogical beliefs, perceptions, and practices of faculty in Web-based instruction: A multiple case study
Bessie Igoki N. Nkonge, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, United States
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro . Awarded
The purpose of this study was to describe relationships among faculty beliefs about pedagogy, perceptions of “best practices,” and their actual practices in Web-based instruction. The case study methodology of Robert K. Yin (2003) was used, and involved the following data collection procedures: interviews, documentation, and observations. The participants were eight instructors teaching fully online courses at a single institution of higher education. The multiple cases were reported individually, then analyzed in an iterative and recursive manner to show emerging patterns of recurring themes, which further informed the study.
The data indicated that faculty fundamental beliefs about pedagogy do not change as much as do their practices. Teaching on the Web challenged the participants to adopt practices that were student-centered, using the innovative technology tools available to them. Their beliefs overwhelmingly reflected a constructivist philosophy, thus, active learning techniques such as discussions, collaboration, and hands-on experiences were infused in the learning process. Most of the participants described their teaching role as that of a facilitator, rather than the sole source of knowledge, guiding and supporting students as they progressed through the course. They found that technology essentially supported or enhanced their ability to deliver instruction in ways that were creative, and for the most part, consistent with their beliefs.
Teaching in a technology mediated environment posed a number of challenges for the participants. These challenges or barriers included: insufficient hardware and software, lack of adequate student orientation, and the need for release time for instructors to design and teach online courses more effectively. The majority of the participants reported a high level of congruency between their beliefs about teaching, perceptions of “best practices,” and actual practices. This indicates that the participants were able to prevail over the challenges facing them to meet their instructional goals. However, their institution should make every effort to resolve issues that hinder instructors' ability to teach effectively.
The study confirmed seven patterns across the cases: (a) constructivism, (b) communication, (c) feedback, (d) collaboration and cooperation, (e) academic rigor and quality, (f) structure and flexibility, and (g) support for students' learning. These patterns reflected the participants' beliefs about pedagogy and perceptions about “best practices” which guided their actual practices in the online learning environment.
Nkonge, B.I.N. Pedagogical beliefs, perceptions, and practices of faculty in Web-based instruction: A multiple case study. Ph.D. thesis, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
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