The adaptation of K--12 teachers to online teaching.

Powell, Jill, Ph.D., The University of Kansas, 2006.

Abstract


This study investigated the adaptation of K-12 traditional teachers to online teaching. Drawing on the work of Rogers (1995) and others concerning the diffusion of innovation, a conceptual framework was established to guide the investigation of how seven K-12 teachers, with varied years of experience, made the transition to online teaching. The question posed was, "How did traditional K-12 teachers transition to online teaching?"

The investigation used a qualitative approach, with multiple case studies of seven teachers within a single site. Purposeful sampling involved initial interviewing of seven teachers over four months. The seven teachers, the director and technology coordinator were also interviewed for background information. Triangulation of the data involved interviews, observation of an online class, journals, field notes, and other documents to ensure multiple views were accurately expressed. The researcher employed the following approaches to ensure reliability and validity: a constant-comparison and cross-case analysis of data, member checks and a peer examiner. In the cross case analysis a Transition to Online Teaching model emerged that includes four phases; Surprise, Accommodation, Comfort, and Role Transition. The investigation also revealed that the most commonly identified factors that effect movement through these phase are: Experience (technical and teaching), Instructional Design (communication, curriculum and instructional strategies) and Commitment (time and professional development). These factors influence teachers' progress through the phases as an iterative process involving ongoing accommodation and transition.

Recommendations for further research include: assessing the validity of the model in other settings including teachers who are making the transition to online teaching in higher education and industry training. Studies might also further analyze how strategies (e.g. peer mentoring) and technical tool (e.g. course management software) can help to ease the adaptation of teachers to online teaching.