Perceptions of administrative strategies and faculty satisfaction of internet-based academic courses in Texas two-year colleges
Crouch, Mark Bowman
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The late 1990s saw an explosion of new information technologies including the emergence of a means of linking widely distributed computer networks together to form a global network of networks called the Internet. Higher education has been pressured to adopt this technology as a means of remote, high-speed course delivery. Within the realm of two-year public colleges in Texas, faculty and administrators are becoming increasingly concerned with the burdens placed upon their institutions to develop and conduct distance education courses using the Internet as the primary means of course delivery. This study investigated the perceptions faculty and administrators at two-year public colleges in Texas have of the policies and guidelines currently in place at their institutions and the level of satisfaction these faculty and administrators have regarding institutional and administrative support of online courses. An instrument was devised for this study to assess faculty and administrator perceptions of policies and guidelines at two-year colleges in Texas. The 59-item webbased survey collected both quantitative and qualitative data. In general, the results suggested that faculty and administrators were aware of policies and procedures in place at their institutions and that two-year college administrations provided a stable environment both administratively and technologically for the delivery of Internet-based courses. Full-time faculty members expressed less satisfaction with administrative support of Internet-based courses than administrators and part-time faculty, but overall satisfaction was expressed by all three groups. The results of the study indicate that the lack of time to develop online instructional materials, lack of timely technical support, and lack of "face-to-face" interaction were significant obstacles to conducting Internet-based courses. Major advantages to Internet-based courses included the ability to reach more students, improved student participation, and greater access to new opportunities for learning and teaching. Some implications ofthe study included: (1) Establish documented technology plans, reliable technology delivery systems, and centralized systems of support for building and maintaining distance education infrastructure;(2) Establish definite benchmarks for course development, teaching/learning, course structure, student and faculty support; and (3) Develop a standardized evaluation process for online course effectiveness and teaching/learning processes using a variety of methods.