About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4364-4371
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-9386-2
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain

DIALECTICAL TENSIONS BETWEEN ONLINE-CLASSROOM PROFESSORS AND INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT PERSONNEL: TOWARD A NEEDS-CENTERED MODEL OF DIALOGUE

T. Endres, K. Boyer

University of Northern Colorado (UNITED STATES)
As early as 1981, Biggs (The Journal of Higher Education) examined sources of conflict between college faculty and librarians. Similar essays examining this conflict-plagued relational type followed (e.g. Birdsall, 1992; Gore, 1982; Jax & Houlson, 1988; Kellogg, 1987; Lipow, 1992; Stahl, 1997; Stebelman et al. 1999). Topics addressed included research protocols, library holdings, journal cancellations, and – more recently – technology changes. An emerging but less-examined relationship on college campuses, between faculty and instructional support staff, faces similar sources of conflict.

For example, classroom professors who teach online know that technology tools can enhance their course offerings, but they do not always have time to learn all the features. Instructional support personnel are excited about all that technology has to offer, but they frequently either overwhelm or enable the faculty they are trying to support. Baxter and Montgomery (1996, Relating: Dialogues and Dialectics) argue that contradiction is a fundamental fact of relational life, as oppositions evolve that create an either-or dialectal tension. The tension addressed here is the contextual dialectic created by the competing perspectives of the teacher turned student and the tech supporter turned trainer.

This essay will first examine the potentially contradictory goals from those competing perspectives. First, from the vantage point of the classroom professor, who often feels pressure from administrators to add, improve, and enhance online offerings – especially now in the face of looming budget cuts and faculty retrenchment. Ideally, faculty strive for quality in their online courses but, realistically, they do what minimally needs to be done to keep up with software changes (e.g. upgrade to Blackboard 9) and little more. On the other side, from the viewpoint of an instructional designer, support personnel are trained on multiple features and capabilities of technology products, but are challenged to condense their broad knowledge into sometimes superficial and unsatisfactory teaching modules. In their attempts to make a significant difference in the classroom instructor’s presentation, they often overload their teaching sessions with too much information, or bypass key instructions and do the faculty member’s work for them – thereby enabling rather than training.

Baxter and Montgomery (1996) suggest an Integration strategy, composed of neutralizing, disqualifying, and reframing the polarities in order to resolve dialectical tensions. Using personal experience and interviews with both academics and medical practitioners, the authors propose a needs-centered assessment interview - conducted by instructional support personnel – that will diffuse the contradictions and provide a best match between the designer’s knowledge and the classroom instructor’s constraints. Case study examples will be provided as the authors provide samples of their current real-time dialogue regarding the development of a new online Master’s degree in Organizational Relations.
@InProceedings{ENDRES2010DIA,
author = {Endres, T. and Boyer, K.},
title = {DIALECTICAL TENSIONS BETWEEN ONLINE-CLASSROOM PROFESSORS AND INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT PERSONNEL: TOWARD A NEEDS-CENTERED MODEL OF DIALOGUE},
series = {2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN10 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-9386-2},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {5-7 July, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {4364-4371}}
TY - CONF
AU - T. Endres AU - K. Boyer
TI - DIALECTICAL TENSIONS BETWEEN ONLINE-CLASSROOM PROFESSORS AND INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT PERSONNEL: TOWARD A NEEDS-CENTERED MODEL OF DIALOGUE
SN - 978-84-613-9386-2/2340-1117
PY - 2010
Y1 - 5-7 July, 2010
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN10 Proceedings
SP - 4364
EP - 4371
ER -
T. Endres, K. Boyer (2010) DIALECTICAL TENSIONS BETWEEN ONLINE-CLASSROOM PROFESSORS AND INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT PERSONNEL: TOWARD A NEEDS-CENTERED MODEL OF DIALOGUE, EDULEARN10 Proceedings, pp. 4364-4371.
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