Academic journal article Journal of Adult Education

Relating Training to Job Satisfaction: A Survey of Online Faculty Members

Academic journal article Journal of Adult Education

Relating Training to Job Satisfaction: A Survey of Online Faculty Members

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine whether training affected the job satisfaction reported by online faculty members. A convenience sample of 492 Iowa Community College Online Consortium (ICCOC) faculty members were invited to participate in a quantitative survey, and 148 responded. Overall Job Satisfaction was operationalized through the use of the Index of Job Satisfaction (IJS), which was created by Brayfield and Rothe (1951). The study was unable to find a statistically significant relationship for Training either as a dichotomous variable (p=.463>.05) or a continuous variable (p=.330>.05) and Overall Job Satisfaction, controlling for age and gender.

Introduction

Students increasingly choose online education because of its accessibility and flexibility (Horvath & Mills, 2011). As web-enhanced teaching continues to expand (Moloney et al, 2010) and as student demand for online courses increases, the resulting demand for qualified faculty to teach distance education courses also has grown as well. The need for trained faculty in the online environment is noted in literature (Haber & Mills, 2008; Orr, Williams & Pennington, 2009; Pagliari, Batts & McFadden, 2009). Colleges and universities must respond to student demands by offering quality online courses using best practices and qualified faculty (Baghdadi, 2011).

Faculty members who desire to teach a quality online course need training in both technology and instructional methods, such as course design (Hoyle, 2010), implementation, and delivery (Dempsey, Fisher, Wright, & Anderton, 2008) because many of these skills are applied uniquely in the online learning environment. Another important ingredient of online course quality is faculty satisfaction (Bollinger & Wasilik, 2009) which is one of the five pillars of quality for online courses indicated by the Sloan Consortium (2002). Outside of educational research, training opportunities have been found to be positively related to employee satisfaction (Irving & Montes, 2009).

In 1999, the Iowa Community College Online Consortium (ICCOC), a group of seven community colleges located in Iowa, began offering online courses. When the ICCOC started, there were 11 faculty members serving 273 students. During the 2011-2012 academic year, the ICCOC employed approximately 497 faculty members who served over 30,000 students. Historically, the ICCOC has addressed online faculty training in a variety of ways including face-to-face, conferences, and workshops. Although the ICCOC offers various types of training, this study focused exclusively on the formal training modules offered to ICCOC faculty through the Pearson eTeaching Institute©.

Importance

As online education continues to grow in the United States (Allen & Seaman, 2011; Moloney et al., 2010), enrollments have grown at the Iowa Community College Online Consortium (ICCOC). Although member colleges have formed a consortium to jointly offer online courses, there is no standard policy regarding faculty training and each college makes its own decisions regarding the method and amount of required training. Thus, each college has different training requirements for faculty regarding the completion of online course modules, which may affect job satisfaction, faculty retention, and, ultimately, student achievement.

The problem studied was that the ICCOC did not know whether the online course modules result in increased job satisfaction for online faculty members (G. Bartelson, personal communication, March 12, 2013). As discovered in a review of the literature, age and gender have been regularly confirmed as being related to job satisfaction and were included as part of the research analysis. A review of the literature has found training to be linked to employee job satisfaction in other arenas but not yet for online faculty. The results of this study may direct practitioner efforts to increase job satisfaction for online faculty and may guide decision makers in future training-policy decisions. …

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