Faculty Attitudes about Distance Education


Authors: Esther Smidt, Brian McDyre, Jennifer Bunk, Rui Li & Tanya Gatenby, West Chester University, United States of America
Email: [email protected]
Published: August 2014

Citation: Smidt, E., McDyre, B., Bunk, J., Li, R., & Gatenby, T. (2014). Faculty Attitudes about Distance Education. IAFOR Journal of Education, 2(2). https://doi.org/10.22492/ije.2.2.06


In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in distance learning in higher education. Given this, it is extremely important to understand faculty attitudes about distance education, not only because they can vary widely, but also because it is the faculty, through their design and implementation of online courses, that will shape the future of distance education. The purpose of the present study is to uncover faculty attitudes about distance education in a specific context, namely that of a mid-sized mid-Atlantic state university. Data sources consist of posts from two of six discussion boards written by 21 faculty participants during an Online Faculty Development Program. Findings are categorized according to (i) philosophical discussions about collaboration, online versus face-to-face courses, and anonymity, (ii) practical discussions about instructor workload and small group discussions, and (iii) practical applications on the incorporation of discussion boards, access, and guidelines for discussion board use. The study ends with course design and faculty training implications.


distance education, faculty attitudes, effective practices