July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Educational Research and Methods
This work-in-progress paper seeks to identify the barriers faculty face when using active learning in an online setting. Much research has been conducted in the past that focuses on the barriers that faculty face when trying to implement active learning in their STEM classrooms, but little has been done to address if similar barriers exist in online instruction. Past research has found that faculty barriers to using active learning in a face-to-face setting could be broken into seven main categories: infrastructure/culture, lack of knowledge or skills in effective teaching practices, fear of student resistance, time/effort, classroom and curriculum, teacher disposition, and community (Finelli, et al., 2014). With the sudden shift in classroom instruction to online settings, this paper seeks to answer what barriers exist for faculty using active learning in an online setting using this previously established framework for face-to-face instruction.
In order to answer this question, 32 instructors from across the Midwest participated in online focus groups that sought to identify these barriers. The instructors were broken into four categories, based on the type of schools in which they were teaching at (doctoral granting, masters granting, bachelors granting, and associates colleges) and recruitment aimed to have equal participation from each category. During the one-hour focus groups, instructors were asked about what barriers they faced as well as what they perceived to be the largest barrier when trying to implement active learning into their online classes. Although this research was conducted in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, instructors were asked to focus on barriers that would be present, regardless of the pandemic.
We found that many of the same barriers exist in the online classroom setting that were found in the previous literature focused on face-to-face instruction. This includes infrastructure (e.g. software licensing, required online platforms such as Canvas or Blackboard), lack of knowledge on how to effectively use active learning in an online setting, student resistance (e.g. students refusing to unmute themselves, students not honestly completing active learning activities), time/effort tied to creating online active learning modules, and classroom and curriculum. An additional barrier found through this work was centered around technology. Many teachers cited both software and hardware as a barrier to using active learning in their online classes. Current technologies do not allow teachers to easily sense or “read the room” to know and understand if their students are following in the activities. Additionally, instructors described a difficulty in building an online class rapport that is conducive to students working together through activities. This paper will present a preliminary analysis of the data collected with a focus on all of the barriers faculty cited, as well as those the faculty indicated as being their largest in using online active learning.
Marlor, L. K., & Finelli, C. J., & Carroll, L. J. (2021, July), Work in Progress: Barriers Instructors Encounter when Using Active Learning in an Online Classroom Setting Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/38125
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