Term of Award

2002

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Administration

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Department

Department of Educational Administration

Committee Chair

Michael D. Richardson

Committee Member 1

Tak C. Chan

Committee Member 2

Cathy S. Jording

Committee Member 3

Catherine C. Wooddy

Abstract

Distance education has taken the educational process beyond the four walls of the traditional classroom and beyond the physical boundaries of the campus environment. As institutions of higher learning seek to meet the needs of a diverse demographic and geographic population, distance education appears to be a logical alternative to the traditional classroom setting. Competition among public institutions of higher learning, as well as from the private sector, is also driving the movement toward distance education. Administrators are seeking ways to meet the educational needs of the diverse student population that is increasingly becoming nontraditional, through s variety of creative courses and program offerings. Faculty members are being called upon to participate in the course delivery. In considering leadership styles and decision-making strategies, the researcher believed that a study focused on the perceptions of faculty toward distance education policies would be helpful in shaping and implementing relative policies. The success of distance education is dependent on the involvement of stakeholders at all levels, which includes faculty, in the decision-making process. The study was intended to explore the perceptions of full-time faculty at public two-year colleges in Georgia. All full-time faculty at the thirteen two-year colleges in the University System of Georgia were surveyed. Responses were received from 568 faculty. Quantitative research methodology was used to analyze data generated from the researcher-designed survey. Descriptive statistics and one-way analysis of variance were performed to analyze the results. Based on the findings of this study, several conclusions were drawn. Faculty of public two-year colleges in Georgia have perceptions toward distance education that differ by experience and only slightly by demographics. Perceptions were obtained in regard to seven constructs, specifically advantages, disadvantages, incentives, disincentives, meeting students' needs, providing a good quality experience, and insuring course integrity. The results indicated there was a statistically significant difference between the perceptions of the faculty based on their experience with distance education toward the seven constructs studied. Faculty who had taught online had more positive perceptions toward distance education. Faculty who had taught by GSAMS had a less positive perception toward distance education. Faculty who had taught by GSAMS only or had taught using neither method agreed more closely with each other and had the most negative perception toward distance education. Demographic and experiential categories of respondents seemed to differ only slightly in perceptions toward distance education. Both sexes appeared to have similar perceptions toward distance education. Age did not seem to alter the degree of agreement toward constructs relating to distance education. Number of years in higher education did not reveal any significant difference in responses. The study revealed that two-year college faculty perceived issues related to distance education to be important. Overall, faculty at these institutions had favorable perceptions concerning distance education.

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