Survey of college professors shows resistance to online learning

, Spencer Irvine, 3 Comments

As online learning expanded and grew, college professors have resisted this new trend of learning for college students. Although some students may benefit more in a personalized, online course instead of a large lecture hall among dozens of students, college professors prefer in-person courses.

Inside Higher Ed published its 2019 Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology, jointly conducted with Gallup. The survey discovered that there was a 2% increase in faculty members who taught an online course, going up to 46% compared to 44% in 2018. Inside Higher Ed pointed out that in 2013, that figure was 30% and it means “that the number has increased by half in six years.”

Despite the uptick in faculty members teaching online courses, 36% of respondents said that they disagree with the idea that “online courses can achieve student learning outcomes at least equivalent to in-person courses at any institution.” In short, they do not believe that online learning can deliver the same learning or educational outcomes as in-person teaching can. Thirty-two percent agreed that online learning is at least equivalent to in-person teaching.

Inside Higher Ed added that the majority of respondents who taught online courses agreed that outcomes are at least equivalent at 61%. Compare that figure to 14% of professors who agreed with that statement, which professors never taught online courses. In other words, those who taught online courses believed that their work led to good learning outcomes compared to in-person teaching, while those who have not taught online courses strongly disagreed with their colleagues.

Here are some of the other findings from the survey, as outlined by Inside Higher Ed:

  • “Nearly four in 10 instructors (39 percent) say they fully support the increased use of educational technologies, up from 32 percent in 2018 and 29 percent in 2017.”
  • “Neither faculty members nor digital learning administrators believe online learning is less expensive to offer than its on-ground alternative — unless colleges reduce spending on instruction or student support.”
  • “Majorities of professors and digital learning leaders alike generally oppose colleges’ use of external vendors to deliver online academic programs, except for marketing to students.”
  • “Professors believe textbooks are too expensive and support use of open educational resources as an alternative — but they are reluctant to put price ahead of quality or to give up control over selection of instructional materials.”
  • “Six in 10 faculty members believe academic fraud is more common in online courses than in face-to-face courses, while the rest believe fraud occurs equally in both settings.”