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Community college faculty perspective on changing online course management systems: A phenomenological inquiry

Kathleen Eitzmann, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This is a phenomenological research study about a college that is changing course management systems for online courses and the experiences that the full-time faculty go through during the transition from one course management system (CMS) to another. The reason this method was chosen was to capture the experiences of the faculty and gain an understanding of the phenomena they experience.^ Colleges are seeing a student enrollment shift away from the traditional classroom toward the online environment. In 2008 there was a 17% increase in online enrollments, accounting for 4.6 million online students. Total enrollments were only up 1.2% (Allen & Seaman, 2010). This demand in online learning means colleges have to offer more online courses, train more faculty, and support the technological requirements of online learning. Many colleges purchase a course management system to support their online courses. The CMS provides a consistent format and look for the faculty and the students while also providing instructional tools such as discussion boards, testing, assignment drop boxes, and grade books. When a college changes the course management system then faculty must learn a new system and transition their courses into the new online software. ^ The research question was: What are the experiences of online faculty as they transition from one course management system to another? Sixteen interviews were conducted with full-time faculty and from the interviews, three themes emerged. The themes related to training, technology, and workload.^ The essence of the study was that this transition was an emotional change process for faculty. From the results of the study a process chart is developed and the recommendations include methods to reduce the emotional impact on faculty members.^ Currently, there is little research about the effects of changing course management systems. More studies need to be done both with faculty and students. Other future research topics could include a cost study to determine the overall cost including both direct and indirect costs. Another angle would be to research the companies who provide the course management systems and learn what they do to meet the needs of the schools they support. ^

Subject Area

Education, Community College|Education, Higher Education Administration|Education, Technology of|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Eitzmann, Kathleen, "Community college faculty perspective on changing online course management systems: A phenomenological inquiry" (2011). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3486923.