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From Training to Adoption of Multimedia: A Strategic Faculty Development Approach

Susan Ko (CUNY School of Professional Studies, USA)
Session Information
October 15, 2015 - 9:15am
Faculty and Professional Development & Support
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Northern Hemisphere D
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 5

Formulating an integrated, multi-pronged faculty development strategy to successfully transition faculty from training to actual adoption of multimedia in online courses

Extended Abstract

Is your institution continuing to make new technology tools available to faculty only to find that few actually apply them in their teaching? Even when faculty participate in training in the use of multimedia, they may fail to actually implement multimedia tools or to adopt these new approaches in their courses. Why do training efforts in this area often fall short? What does it take to "move the needle" on adoption by faculty? While it's become increasingly easier for faculty to create and integrate video and other forms of multimedia content in online courses, at many institutions, the rate of inclusion of multimedia into online instruction by faculty is still disappointingly low. While some may see the solution in a production model in which instructional technology staff take over the creation and deployment of multimedia, faculty development training can provide an effective alternative or supplement but one whose efficacy is contingent upon the articulation and implementation of a clear strategy.

This presentation explains why it is necessary and what it takes to formulate an integrated and multi-pronged strategy to increase faculty implementation of multimedia. The strategy should be grounded in appropriate learning approaches and faculty development best practices, must encompass the selection and testing of new tools, consider the way institutional resources of staff and equipment are harnessed to train and support faculty and their students, and must formulate realistic incentives for faculty participation. It should extend to ensuring that skillful use of multimedia is a part of the quality review and evaluation of courses. Evaluation of training, support, and incentives must be aligned with the intended goals. To the degree that some elements of the solution lie outside the purview of faculty development, faculty development units must have the support of higher administration and be proactive in collaborating with the relevant parties.

While there is a rich body of literature on overcoming the barriers and increasing the incentives for faculty adoption and the diffusion of technology in teaching and learning (Anderson, Varnhagen & Campbell, 1998; Geoghegan, 1994; Rogers, 1995) going back to the early days in online education, the creation and use of multimedia for teaching and learning would seem to present a higher degree of complexity and greater challenge to faculty adoption. Other factors that may influence faculty adoption are the institutional and organizational context and lack of recognition that faculty development efforts need to be diverse and targeted to the different stages of adoption among faculty (Butler & Selbom, 2002; Porter, Graham, Spring & Welch, 2014; Shea, McCall & Ozdogru, 2006).

The underpinnings of faculty development rooted in andragogy and transformative learning theory also suggest that faculty need to feel invested and internally motivated, need multiple opportunities to test and practice various solutions and approaches, as well as time for reflection on their learning experience (Johnson, Wisniewski, Kuhlemeyer, Isaacs & Krzykowski, 2012; McQuiggan, 2012). It is vital for faculty developers to consider what they want to achieve through each element of training for example, is it to bring awareness to faculty about the way multimedia can enrich their courses, to guide them in the creation of their own multimedia in instruction, to help faculty find appropriate multimedia resources to incorporate in their course materials, to replace current modes of presentation with video lectures, or to devise assignments for students that can be fulfilled via multimedia objects? Yet another consideration is how to best evaluate the effectiveness of each element of training beyond the usual faculty satisfaction surveys (Meyer &Murrell, 2014).

We will discuss the necessary elements for an integrated strategy, providing some specific examples from our work with faculty from diverse disciplines over the past two years, consider both the successful and the less than successful attempts, and what we have learned from both. We will also demonstrate some approaches we have used to raise faculty awareness of potential options for their students to create meaningful multimedia content as a way of meeting learning objectives. Finally, we will try to identify some ways to evaluate the effectiveness of faculty development training for multimedia.

The audience will be invited to share how they are approaching these issues at their own institutions and to consider what other actions they may need to take for their efforts to con stitute an effective strategic approach.

Anderson, T., Varnhagen, S., & Campbell, K. (1998). Faculty adoption of teaching and learning technologies: Contrasting earlier adopters and mainstream faculty. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 28(2/3), 71-98.

Butler, D. & Sellbom, M. (2002). Barriers to adopting technology for teaching and learning. Educause Quarterly, 2, 22-28

Geoghegan, W. (1994). What ever happened to instructional technology? Reaching mainstream faculty, Norwalk, CT: IBM Academic Consulting.

Johnson, T., Wisniewski, M. A., Kuhlemeyer, G., Isaacs, G., & Krzykowski, J. (2012). Technology Adoption in Higher Education: Overcoming Anxiety through Faculty Bootcamp. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 16(2), 63-72.

Meyer, K. A., & Murrell, V. S. (2014). A National Study of Training Content and Activities for Faculty Development for Online Teaching. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 18(1), n1.

McQuiggan, C. A. (2012). Faculty Development for Online Teaching as a Catalyst for Change. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 16(2), 27-61.

Porter, W. W., Graham, C. R., Spring, K. A., & Welch, K. R. (2014). Blended learning in higher education: Institutional adoption and implementation. Computers & Education, 75, 185-195.

Rogers, E. M. (1995). Diffusion of innovations (4th ed.). New York: Free Press.

Shea, P., McCall, S., & Ozdogru, A. (2006). Adoption of the multimedia educational resource for learning and online teaching (MERLOT) among higher education faculty: Evidence from the State University of New York Learning Network. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 2(3).

Lead Presenter

Susan Ko serves as Faculty Development Director at CUNY School of Professional Studies and is author of Teaching Online: A Practical Guide, a leading book in the field of faculty development for online teaching, currently in its third edition from Routledge.