The CTL identified 88 faculty members teaching hybrid/online classes in the Spring 2015 semester. Faculty members received two surveys about their hybrid/online courses via email: one in January that asked them to assess their expectations and one in May to evaluate their experiences. Thirty-one faculty members completed the January survey and 43 completed the May survey. Most of the faculty members who answered the January and May surveys identified themselves as full-time professors (63%) who had previously taught hybrid/online courses at Baruch College (77%). The faculty members taught hybrid/online courses in various disciplines across the College during the Spring 2015 semester; the majority of the faculty survey respondents came from the School of Public Affairs and The Department of Statistics and Computer Information Systems.
By distributing these surveys, the CTL hoped to gain additional insight into the experience that Baruch faculty have had in teaching hybrid/online courses. The surveys were kept intentionally brief so that faculty would not feel beleaguered by answering them. Ultimately, the goal of these surveys was to get a snapshot of Baruch faculty’s relationship with the hybrid/online course formats in terms of preparation, teaching and learning, and technology and support. The summaries below point to areas that warrant further research and investigation.
Faculty Training and Preparation
Overall, the vast majority of survey participants felt sufficiently prepared to teach their hybrid/online courses, though slightly fewer in May (83%) than in January (90%). These results suggest that some faculty may have had unrealistic expectations about the preparation involved in teaching a hybrid/online class. Since preparation is a key component of hybrid/online training seminars offered by the CUNY School of Professional Studies (SPS) or Baruch’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), increased participation in these seminars may benefit faculty members preparing to teach a hybrid/online course. Additionally, even though 83% of faculty felt comfortable with the technologies they used, increased participation in training seminars may also provide faculty members with information about and access to technical support. This aspect of faculty development could be especially beneficial since in the May survey only 61% of faculty members indicated that they felt that they received satisfactory technical support.
Fewer than half of the respondents had participated in a hybrid/online training seminar, either organized by the SPS or the CTL. However, of those faculty who had participated in the SPS or CTL training seminars, the majority felt adequately well-prepared in terms of time management, pedagogy, and technology. These results suggest that increased faculty participation in hybrid/online training seminars would benefit the College’s hybrid/online initiative.
A greater number of CTL seminar participants felt very-well prepared in terms of technology (43%) compared to the SPS seminar (19%). This difference could perhaps be explained by the length and comprehensiveness of the CTL seminars, most of which have been semester-long courses that introduce a variety of technologies to faculty. Additionally, the CTL staff is available to offer individualized help on technology and pedagogy to faculty enrolled in the seminars, which could account for the reported increase in faculty perceptions of their preparedness.
In the future, the CTL plans to integrate time management skills into the next round of seminars since one-third of faculty (31%) who had gone through the CTL seminar felt only slightly well-prepared to deal with this aspect of hybrid/online courses. As with all the data points in this survey, however, the results can be interpreted in a number of ways, and are best seen as representative of issues that should be investigated further. The issue of time management is complex and could speak to faculty struggles with personal issues, administrative responsibilities, family obligations, or research and writing projects unrelated to their hybrid/online courses. In future seminars and surveys the CTL will investigate how best to address the concern about time management and its specific implications for hybrid/online courses.
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