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Online Professional Development. Should they be required?

blankson.jpg A study by Allen and Seaman on Online Education in the United States in 2008 reported that enrollment in online courses is growing at a faster rate than in traditional face-to-face settings. With this growing demand comes an increase in the number of faculty who teach or plan to teach in this learning environment. In order to prepare such faculty and to ensure the production and instruction of quality online courses, some institutions have resorted to providing professional development programs intended to enhance knowledge, skills and attitudes required to improve students’ learning in an online environment. Some of these programs are offered in a face-to-face setting while in some institutions, faculty are required to receive training online. The argument made in favor of the online training is that for faculty to be able to teach successfully in the online environment, they need to have had that experience.

The question then is, should faculty who are teaching or are planning to teach online be required to engage in professional development programs that are offered online? Or will a workshop offered in a face-to-face setting be of equal value?

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