Presenter: Pooneh Lari
Advisor(s): Dr. Colleen Wiessner
Author(s): Pooneh Lari and Colleen Wiessner
Graduate Program: Adult and Higher Education

Title: Transforming teaching experiences: Faculty transition from traditional to online classroom

Abstract: This study investigates graduate faculty who have taught in both face-to-face and online environments and analyzes their transitions from face-to-face to online teaching as they confront long-held beliefs about teaching that often do not translate to a virtual learning environment. As a graduate student responsible for technical support of such faculty members, the researcher adds her observations to the stories participants share through the interviews.

Two questions guide this research: 1) How do graduate faculty members describe their transition from teaching face-to-face to teaching in an online environment, and 2) to what extent do graduate faculty view their transitions as transformative?  Three bodies of literature under gird this study: transformative learning theory, faculty professional development in online teaching, and situated cognition.

For the purposes of this study, a qualitative methodology is used because the research deals with human actions, thoughts and behaviors, which are influenced by the environment in which they take place. This study focuses on the individualís lived experiences and depends heavily on descriptive and narrative data and in order to understand actions, thoughts and behaviors of these individuals. The data was collected through interviews, focus groups, document analysis and critical incident questionnaires. This reflective data collection took place after the faculty completed their first online teaching experience, but before the memory fades of what it feels like to be carried about chaotically.

By describing face-to-face and online teaching experiences, this study contributes to creating a body of knowledge useful to graduate faculty transitioning from traditional to online classrooms and also expands the online teaching literature. It also illuminates an area of transformative learning that has been largely unexamined in previous studies.