Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Development and Validation of the Online Instructor Satisfaction Measure (OISM)

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Development and Validation of the Online Instructor Satisfaction Measure (OISM)

Article excerpt

Introduction

More and more higher education institutions in the U.S. have implemented courses, degree programs, and certificates that are delivered entirely online. Leaders in academia expect enrollment to increase significantly every year, and online credit offerings are now an integral part of many higher education institutions' long-term strategic plan (Bourne & Moore, 2005). Academic leaders at institutions assume that instructors and students are satisfied with their online course offerings (Allen & Seaman, 2004). Many leaders are convinced that the quality of online courses and student outcomes in this learning environment are at least equivalent if not better than compared to residential courses (Allen & Seaman, 2010).

One of the reasons for the increase in student enrollment in online courses is the increased need of students to have access to alternative methods of education. The student body at many universities has changed to include a high percentage of nontraditional learners (Blakely & Tomlin, 2008; Snyder & Dillow, 2011) who might be unable to attend a university campus due to many other roles and responsibilities such as work and/or family (Caffarella, 2002; van Enckevort, Harry, Morin, & Schutze, 1986). However, many individuals feel the need or wish to continue their formal education or participate in professional development opportunities. For them, online academic courses and programs provide access to education and are a good fit for individuals with busy schedules. The growth of enrollment in online courses offered by colleges and universities has continued for the past seven years-in order to meet student demand. It has by far exceeded the growth of overall student enrollment growth, and this trend is expected to continue. In fall 2009, the number of learners enrolled in at least one online course exceeded 5.6 million (Allen & Seaman, 2010).

As the number of online students and subsequently online course and degree programs offerings increase, so does the number of instructors who are being tasked to teach online. In a study conducted by Seaman (2009), 34.4% of instructors surveyed had taught at least one online course, and approximately 23.6% were teaching an online course at the time the study was conducted. Many research efforts have been devoted to investigating important elements of faculty adoption of technology in teaching (D'Silva & Reeder, 2005), participation in distance education (Clay, 1999; O'Quinn & Corry, 2002), and what motivates instructors to teach online (Panda & Mishra, 2007).

Instructors are not only important in the success of meeting university goals and outcomes, they also have an impact on the success of academic programs because "faculty play an essential role in developing and rethinking online courses" (Meyer, 2006, p. 43). The commitment of faculty to deliver quality programs and courses is documented in the literature (Curran, 2008). One important aspect in the delivery of online courses and programs, however, is faculty satisfaction. Faculty satisfaction is so important that the Sloan Consortium includes it as one of the five pillars in the quality framework for online education (Moore, 2002).

Theoretical framework

Faculty satisfaction

In the context of this study, instructor satisfaction is defined as the perception that the process of teaching in the online environment is efficient, effective, and beneficial for the individual. It is one element in the quality framework for online education developed by the Sloan Consortium (Moore, 2002). Researchers have documented that many instructors are satisfied teaching in the online environment and are willing to continue to teach online (Conceicao, 2006; Hartman Dziuban, & Moskal, 2000; Fredericksen, Pickett, Shea, Pelz, & Swan, 2000). Some instructors, however, are critical of teaching online. Instructors are concerned about limited interaction (Bower, 2001), and they are aware that online teaching is time consuming and labor intensive which can easily lead to burnout (Hogan & McKnight, 2007). …

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