1 Ghent University / d-teach (BELGIUM)
2 Ghent University (BELGIUM)
3 d-teach (BELGIUM)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2021 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 7381-7390
ISBN: 978-84-09-27666-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2021.1477
Conference name: 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-9 March, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Instructors worldwide are making the shift from offline to online teaching, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, making this transition in a short period of time is personally and professionally challenging and therefore customized support is needed. To date, little is known about the concerns and needs of instructors when switching from offline to online teaching, either in a synchronous way in which the teacher and students are online at the same time, or in an asynchronous way, in which the students are not online at the same time. Therefore, the main aim of this cross-sectional study was to investigate online instructors’ educational experiences during this shift and the support requirements needed to shift efficiently and effectively from offline to online teaching.

More particularly, this study investigates instructors’:
(a) demographics,
(b) experiences with asynchronous and synchronous online teaching,
(c) online teaching self-efficacy,
(d) attitudes towards online teaching, and
(e) training needs regarding online teaching.

In total, 187 instructors with a wide range of functions completed a web-based questionnaire, partly based on the MNESEOT Instrument (Robinia & Anderson, 2010). When analyzing the data, we systematically compared a group of instructors that were mainly teaching asynchronously (N=66) with a group of instructors that were mainly teaching in a synchronous way (N=64). Based on analysis of variance, the results show that the overall teaching self-efficacy of instructors (measured on likert-scale from 1 to 9) who mainly taught synchronously online (M=6.54) was significantly higher (F(1,128)=8.00, p=.005) than the teaching self-efficacy of their asynchronously online teaching colleagues (M=5.99). Synchronous online instructors were also significantly more willing to teach online in the future (M=4.52, F(1,128)=6.36, p=.013) compared to their asynchronous counterparts (M=4.20). Despite the lack of educational experience in online teaching of the majority of instructors, many of them were very (N=49) or somewhat (N=97) satisfied with their online teaching practice and would definitely teach online again voluntarily (N=95) or if needed (N=75). However, the findings show that online instructors are also concerned about the pedagogical, social, and technical role they have to take as an online teacher.

Likewise, they want to receive more support and training on how:
(a) to adapt their instructional strategies to the online learning environment,
(b) to stimulate social interaction, and
(c) to deal with the technology in online learning environments and select the appropriate digital tools.

The needs identified in this study care useful for future intervention studies investigating how we can support instructors who are making the shift from offline to (a)synchronous online teaching.
Distance education, online teaching, professional development, self-efficacy.