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Recommendations for courseware publishers

  1. Build software to be used inside campus-wide course management systems.
  2. Create media short segments that can be either used in the classroom or on a computer at home without access to high-speed Internet.
  3. Design software with written and built-in instructions.
  4. Tutorials for instructors should use examples from the appropriate discipline to engage their interest.
  5. If high-speed Internet connection is required to access course materials, provide alternative ways to access them.
  6. Keep in touch with campus technology experts and instructors to find out standards in use and potential design problems for the users.
  7. In designing course software, test interface menu terminology on potential users to achieve wide understanding.
  8. Distribution of courseware needs to work within already established channels of university textbook purchasing.

Recommendations to university administrators

  1. Review and revise tenure requirements to support faculty trying new forms of teaching.
  2. Test students for computer skills before enrollment in an online course.
  3. If students lack computer skills to use the course management system or to communicate online, require enrollment in a course to teach the skills in their first semester.
  4. Provide instructions within the course management system for students.
  5. If use of course management software is required, instructors should either demonstrate their proficiency, or receive training in how to create a user-friendly course websites using their own course materials.
  6. Instructors should be taught how to prepare quality written communications that convey information and encourage and support students.
  7. Provide instructors with examples of best practices.
  8. Limit the size of online classes to ensure that instructors have time for the one-to-one communication necessary with students online.
  9. Customize professional development to faculty age and stage.

Recommendations for further research

Further research is needed in developing models for courseware that instructors find easy to use within their campus technology infrastructure to help supply resources for the growing number of hybrid and online courses in demand.

Due to the increasing demand for online resources, future research should be done to improve the design of courseware that works well in the classroom and for students at home. Special attention should be give to videos for instructors who teach integrated skills, such as counseling theories and practice. Video provides a unique way to demonstrate case studies in counseling.

Conclusion

This was a study primarily about teaching. The stories of the nine participants revealed much about how they taught, with one aspect being how they used technology in their teaching. Technology is often seen as disembodied, an abstraction. In the context of this study, the technology is not disembodied; instead, it is enmeshed in a very complex environment unique to each instructor. This environment consisted of:

  • The instructors’ stage of career (Establishment, Maintenance, or Decline);
  • The university and the departmental environments in which they worked (state vs. private, the use of campus-wide course management systems, training, technology support, and attitudes toward technology);
  • The physical environment, (on campus vs. off-campus vs. distance learning, a city recovering from a hurricane, technology infrastructure in the students’ homes);
  • The kind of students they taught (half in their 20s, and the other half mid-career adults, mixed gender classes vs. all female);
  • The instructor’s teaching philosophy, (traditional teacher-centered vs. constructivist/ student-centered);
  • Their competing motivations (teaching vs. tenure seeking, pleasing a supervisor by integrating new technologies vs. simplifying lesson planning)
  • Politics (competition for students in the region driving policy making).

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Source:  OpenStax, Faculty use of courseware to teach counseling theories. OpenStax CNX. Oct 14, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11130/1.1
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