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A case study: Experiences in developing online courses at a community college

Neal Lynn Henning, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The purpose of this study was to examine the experiences of nine faculty members in the development of two online courses at a community college in southeast Nebraska. The faculty members used Lotus Notes (a piece of software that was adapted for instructional delivery known as computer-mediated communication) as the delivery tool for the courses. ^ Data was collected through interviews, observations, and participant-observations. Additionally, all online communications were analyzed. From data analysis, a description of the experiences of the faculty members was produced. The themes that evolved were the following: (1) The importance of group dynamics came through in the respect that the diversity of the group needs to be considered. This study also suggests that an outsider who is unfamiliar with topic area be involved, This research also indicates that a single faculty member should not develop a course on his or her own. Groups help to assure that the entire scope of the course is attended to. (2) Participants need to be given time to play. Faculty members need time to “experiment and have some fun” so that they can become comfortable with the software. This time also allows them the opportunity to work out any technical problems that might occur. (3) Faculty participants should be given the opportunity to be a student before becoming an online instructor. This case study suggests that a “mock” course be built for the faculty members. The “mock” course should either center around the software and how to manipulate it or on the theories of learning in an online environment. (4) The case study found that it is important to screen faculty members before starting the actual training process for online course development. Prospective participants should be screened for the technical aptitude. Based upon that aptitude additional training needs to be given in the areas where the faculty members have a deficit. An instructional design would greatly enhance the final product. (5) Online learning needs assessment in several areas. The entire program of online education needs to be assessed. The courses as delivered by Lotus Notes need to be assessed and an assessment of the courses needs to take place to ensure their viability. ^ The development process of moving from a traditional classroom to an online environment was a time-consuming and complex task. This study records those experiences. ^

Subject Area

Education, Community College|Education, Teacher Training|Education, Technology of|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Henning, Neal Lynn, "A case study: Experiences in developing online courses at a community college" (2000). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI9973595.