This study was a phenomenological study examining the experiences of faculty in an online learning environment in order to identify the factors that could produce job burnout and stress in master’s programs in education. The challenges and related stress-producing factors were also explored to identify best practices for online faculty and attributes most suited for the demands and expectations required in the online teaching environment. The study’s insights and findings are based on perspectives from online faculty who have been teaching in the modality for three or more years. These findings 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. 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. Based upon the findings, institutional leaders have information that could help identify best practices for online faculty and attributes most suited for the demands and expectations required in an online teaching environment. Institutions and administration can seek out and recruit the best possible online faculty who have the necessary skills, abilities, and characteristics required in this modality rather than hiring based merely upon academic credentials that would fail to identify specific attributes necessary for online teaching. Finally, those specific characteristics can then be applied to alleviate job burnout challenges online faculty would experience. The study will help institutional leaders (a) identify faculty earlier who will be better suited to the modality; (b) identify how to offer relevant, on-going faculty supports and training practices; and
(c) prevent online faculty job burnout.
The growth of competency-based education in an online environment requires the development and measurement of
quality competency-based courses. While quality measures for online courses have been developed and standardized, they do not directly align with emerging best practices and principles in the design of quality competency-based online courses. The purpose of this paper is to provide background and research for a proposed rubric to measure quality in competency-based online courses.
Over the last decade, there has been a steady increase in online learning enrollments. The proportion of college students taking at least one online course is at an all-time high and 66% of higher education institutions indicate that online learning is critical to their long-term strategy (Allen & Seaman, 2014). Universities are increasingly relying on adjunct faculty to meet this need;
as such, it is important for institutions to understand the unique motivations, characteristics and needs of online adjunct faculty to better support teaching effectiveness. A survey of 603 adjunct faculty teaching online courses provides an overview of characteristics of modern online adjunct faculty and highlights institutional adaptations necessary to accommodate a changing
Operating at the interface between ideas and action, graduate education in geography and planning has a responsibility to provide students with theoretical and practical training. This paper describes service-learning as a form of engaged pedagogy, exploring its ability to interrogate notions related to the “professional turn” and its contributions to transformative learning. Using a case study of a graduate-level service-learning course at the University of Toronto, we address the challenges associated with service-learning and high- light opportunities for students, faculty, universities, and community organizations. Our case study is based on assessment and analysis of the course and contributions to student learning, professional development, and community engagement. We contend that, at the graduate level, service-learning is an underutilized
pedagogical tool. Service-learning can impart high-demand skills to graduate students by transforming how students learn and move from knowledge into ideas and ultimately action, and by offering opportunities for developing higher-order reasoning and critical thinking.
An early consensus in the ongoing discourse about graduate student preparation for diverse careers was that graduates lacked competencies relevant to non-academic professional settings. Lists of missing “skills” were developed that universities and agencies sought to address, most commonly by the offering of generic (transferable) skills workshops or courses. In this paper, we critique this framing of the issue and discuss the limitations of the common approaches taken to address it. We propose a more integrated approach, where students’ thesis research itself is oriented to their possible futures (a practice already occurring in many areas), and where assessment of the competencies so developed is integral to the awarding of the degree. We illustrate the concepts through the stories of two students, and discuss policy ramifications and
the substantial challenges to its realization presented by a highly competitive research
environment and established ways of assessing success in faculty and students.
A growing number of Canadian universities offer graduate student certificate programs in university teaching. This paper examines such programs at 13 Canadian universities and presents a discussion of program structures and practices. The findings suggest that most programs were offered over one to two years, and upon successful completion, participants were issued a centre-approved certificate paired with a more formalized method of recognition, such as a transcript notation. The core focus of certificate programs appears to be divided between those that emphasize practical skill development (46%) and those that offer practical skill development along with a focus on the scholarship of teaching and learning (54%). Most certificates included ac- tive and authentic assessment methods, such as dossiers (69%), and practice teaching sessions (62%). These findings help to inform the continued evolution of graduate student teaching certificate programs.
The provision of blended learning strategies designed to assist academics in the higher education sector with the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for effective teaching with technology has been, and continues to be, a challenge for teaching centres in Canada. It is unclear, first, whether this is an ongoing issue unique to Canada; and, second, if it is not unique to Canada, whether we might be able to implement different and/or more effective strategies based on what others outside Canada are doing. Teaching centre leaders in Australia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Britain, Scotland, and the United States (n=31) were interviewed to explore how their units used blended learn- ing strategies. Findings suggest that, as in Canada,
there is a “value gap” be- tween academics and leaders of teaching centres regarding teaching development initiatives using blended learning strategies.
The purpose of this research study was to investigate if and how mobile devices could be used to support the required program outcomes in a blended pre-service teacher education degree. All students enrolled in an educational technology course during the fall 2011 semester were provided with ViewSonic tablets. Through faculty interviews, student online
surveys, and a post- course focus group, the study participants indicated that mobile devices could be useful for supporting future professional responsibilities (e.g., career-long learning, collaboration) and facilitating student learning but less effective for planning, assessment, and managing the classroom environment.
Graduate students are assumed to develop skills in oral and written communication and collegial relationships that are complementary to formal graduate programs. However, it appears only a small number of universities provide such professional development opportunities alongside academic programs, and even fewer do so online. There appears to be an assumption in higher education that students develop professional skills by virtue of learning through required academic tasks and having proximity to other students and faculty. Skeptics of online study raise questions about whether graduate students studying online can participate fully in such graduate communities and access these informal professional skill-building opportunities. It is possible that such activities may have to be designed and delivered for online graduate students.
What research direction is needed in the scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education? Over a decade ago, Windschitl (1998) advocated for more research on in- creasing student inquiry through the World Wide Web and illuminating web-based stu- dent communication. The release and then extensive development of a model of online communities of inquiry (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000) responded to Windschitl’s call. In addition to continued work in these two areas, a stronger research focus on learn- ing theory and everyday use of Web 2.0 technologies is required (Greenhow, Robelia, & Hughes, 2009; Zawacki-Richter, Anderson, & Tunca, 2010).
While a wide variety of publications have suggested that the development of student creativity should be an important objective for contemporary universities, information about how best to achieve this goal across a range of disciplinary contexts is nonetheless scant. The present study aimed to begin to fill this gap by gathering data (via an electronic survey instrument) about how the teaching and learning of creativity are perceived and enacted by instructors in different disciplines at Ontario universities. Results indicated points of both convergence and divergence between respondents from different fields in terms of their understandings of the place of creativity within courses and programs, and in terms of strategies they reported using to enable creativity in their students. We discuss the implications of these findings, including the ways in which the data speak to ongoing debates about the role of disciplines within teaching, learning, and creativity more broadly.
The contemporary university has grown to be a fairly complex institution sustained by many competing interests, not all of which are directly concerned with promoting the work of study, broadly conceived. My concern in the fol- lowing is with the quality of the subjective experience of studying that universities are still meant to provide. By subjective experience I mean the
mindful engagement that is study, and my focus is on such study as it is found in undergraduate programs leading to undergraduate degrees. Given the threat of a growing indifference between professors and students concerning their shared engagement in courses offered at the undergraduate level (offered because of professors’ institutional obligations, taken because of students’ degree requirements), I reconsider the subjective investment of mindful engagement that these courses nevertheless represent.
This article reports on findings from a scan of 465 policies relevant to the handling of cyberbullying in 74 Canadian universities. It first assesses the commonalities and differences in the policies. Second, it considers how their various lenses—a human rights perspective versus a student conduct perspective, for instance—can affect the directions and outcomes of university
responses. The majority of the policies reviewed were codes of student conduct and discipline, policies on electronic communication, and policies on harassment and discrimination. Most of the policies outlined complaint procedures and possible sanctions, but relatively few addressed prevention of unacceptable behaviours. Only about a third made reference to “cyber” behaviours, suggesting that the university policy environment is not current with the information and
communication technologies that permeate the daily lives of university students and faculty.
In this paper, we exploit a rich longitudinal data set to explore the forces that, during high school, shape the development of aspirations to attend university and achieve academic success. We then investigate how these aspirations, along with grades and other variables, impact educational outcomes such as going to university and graduating. It turns out that parental
expectations and peer factors have direct and indirect effects on educational outcomes through their impact on both grades and aspirations. Policy measures that enlighten parents about the value of education may positively modify educational outcomes.
Canada does not have enough nurses with doctoral degrees. Such nurses fill important roles as researchers, educators, leaders, and clinicians. While a growing number of Canadian universities offer doctorate degrees in nursing, most institutions have only traditional on-campus programs, posing barriers for nurses who reside in places geographically distant from those institutions or who require more flexibility in their education. We describe our experiences as the inaugural cohort of the doctoral program by distributed learning at the University of Victoria School of Nursing. Since 2011, we have used a variety of electronic modalities and participated in several very short on-site intensives. Our experience indicates that distributive learning modalities improve access and deliver academically rigorous programs.
In this follow-up study, college students who transferred to one Ontario university in 2008–2009 were compared to non-transfer students using several different measures of academic success at university. When compared to non- transfer students, college transfer students earned fewer credits each year, had lower GPAs, and were less able to earn credits from course attempts. The differences were small for students’ first and second years but larger in years three and four. Despite the
lower GPA, college transfer students were not more likely than non-transfer students to be eligible for academic suspension. College transfer students also attempted fewer courses and were much less likely to persist to Year 4. By spring 2012 (after four years of university), the college transfer students were more likely than non-transfer students to have graduated, but their degree of choice was a 15-credit three-year degree (as opposed to a 20-credit four-year honours or
non-honours degree). Policy implications are discussed.
This article focuses on teachers’ experiences in implementing peer assessment with first semester students. It explores the relationship between teachers’ conceptions of teaching and their approach to peer assessment, where both conceptions and approaches are described as being either learning focused or content focused. Drawing upon analysis of interviews with eight teachers, the study found that one had a consonant view of the interrelationship be- tween conceptions of teaching and
approaches to peer assessment, while the remaining seven described their conceptions of teaching and their approach- es to peer assessment with a combination of learning-focused and content focused statements. These statements are labelled as dissonant. Discussion focuses on implications of consonant and dissonant relationships between conceptions of teaching and approaches to peer assessment for implementation of peer assessment; it also addresses academic development issues.
The study reveals that when implementing new methods (here, peer assessment), underlying assumptions will impact on the nature of teacher engagement.
Universities play an increasingly prominent role in shaping regional, social, and economic development. In Canada, however, spatial, economic, and so- cial differences between universities and their host communities continue to challenge positive town–gown relationships and undermine the benefits associated with high concentrations of prospective young, “creative” graduates. The purpose of this article is to identify the factors that lead to positive town– gown relations and,
subsequently, encourage graduate retention. Through this research, university and town administrators were found to play a key role in establishing a positive relationship between students and community members. Local employment opportunities were also found to help students build an experiential relationship with their localities and make them more
likely to settle there after graduation.
Academics are collaborating more as their research questions are becoming more complex, often reaching beyond the capacity of any one person. How- ever, in many parts of the campus, teamwork is not a traditional work pat- tern, and team members may not understand the best ways to work together to the benefit of the project. Challenges are particularly possible when there are differences among the disciplines represented on a team and when there are variations in academic control over decision making and research direction setting. Disparities in these two dimensions create potential for miscommunication, conflict, and other negative consequences, which may mean that a collaboration is not successful. This paper explores these dimensions and suggests a space for collaboration; it also describes some benefits and challenges associated within various
positions within the framework. Academ- ic teams can use this tool to determine the place they
would like to occupy within the collaboration space and structure themselves accordingly before
This article presents a case study of a technology-enhanced face-to-face health sciences course in which the principles of Universal Design for Learing (UDL) were applied. Students were offered a variety of means of rep- resentation, engagement, and expression throughout the course, and were surveyed and interviewed at the end of the term to identify how the UDL- inspired course attributes influenced their perceptions of course accessibility. Students responded very positively to the
course design, and felt that the weaving of UDL throughout the course resulted in increased flexibility, social presence, reduced stress, and enhanced success. Overall, students felt more in control of their own learning process and empowered to make personal choices to best support their own learning. This course design also led to in- creased satisfaction from the perspective of the instructor and reduced the need for intervention by the campus disability services department.