chapter  11
24 Pages

Adapting Instructional Documents to an Online Course Environment

When faculty teach courses online for the first time, they may do so for any

number of reasons, ranging from the course having been slotted that way prior to

their putting it in their workload, to their wanting more flexibility in their own

schedule, to the administration encouraging them to meet the needs of students.

And they may be new to teaching a particular course, new to teaching online, or

both. Furthermore, their technological comfort zone may range widely depending

on their fluency: They may be guided by a strong orientation toward print-based

composing, or they may be as technologically fluent as their students. The process

we describe below characterizes the experience of teachers who came of age

before the emergence of new media and who were encouraged by administration

to offer courses that would meet the needs of students and lighten the demand for

on-site classroom space. However, our experience may inform younger faculty

who have not yet taken the plunge or program administrators who supervise

contingent faculty who prefer the flexibility of teaching online. Once faculty have

committed to teaching online, many of them most likely begin to familiarize

themselves with the campus delivery system available and soon realize that their

courses can be ultra-technologically sexy or pretty dang technologically straight-

forward, depending on the system, their knowledge, available support-and

their comfort level. They should also be aware that as online enrollments have

increased, so have distance course attrition rates, so they will need strategies

for engaging with their students (Carr, 2000).