Online Professional Development: The Experiences of a First-Time Facilitator

by Gammill, Renee

Abstract (Summary)
Donmoyer (1990) suggested that knowledge gained from our own experiences or that of others may be applied to the improvement of practice. The purpose of this study was to provide insight into the experiences of a first-time online facilitator. The research question for this study was: How does a first-time facilitator understand the process of delivering instruction in an online environment? A case study design was applied to this research. The researcher/participant was the case under study in the context of the delivery of online instruction. The researcher who was also the online instructional facilitator experienced the process of delivering online instruction for the first time. The use of this method provided a first-hand perspective of the experiences of an online facilitator. The study was conducted in two phases. During Phase I, the researcher/participant participated in a train-the-trainer program that was delivered using the BlackboardĀ® learning management system. During Phase II, the researcher/participant facilitated an online professional development session created during the training. Data were collected from a variety of sources, including journaling, interviews with a master trainer and other online facilitators, and analysis of course materials and completed assignments. Three themes emerged from the data. The themes were: (a) time, (b) adherence to standards, and (c) absence of physical presence. Recommendations included: (a) alignment of training and evaluation with professional development and content standards, (b) awarding of credit based on demonstrations of learning and student achievement, (c) facilitator awareness of non-instructional responsibilities, (d) training and support for the efficient use of technology to manage administrative and support tasks, (e) enforcement of completion deadlines, (f) provision of feedback on assignments, (g) implementation of additional opportunities for collaboration, (h) participant and facilitator awareness of time and paper needed for learning and record-keeping tasks, (i) training for participants without demonstrated technology proficiency, (j) implementation of a blended training approach, and (k) investigation of web-based publications for use in the delivery of online professional development.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Arthur D. Stumpf; Vance A. Durrington; James E. Davis; Anthony A. Olinzock; R. Dwight Hare

School:Mississippi State University

School Location:USA - Mississippi

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:technology and education


Date of Publication:11/18/2005

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