Institutional actions vs. factors influencing distance learning faculty: a delphi approach

The number of online adjunct faculty members has increased significantly and are currently the fastest growing segment of college instructors. This is due, in part, to the changes in university strategies to implement online learning. In fact, 66% of higher education institutions indicated that online or distance learning is critical to their long term plans. Much of this growth in online adjunct strategy may be attributed to the lower cost structure and adaptability to changing enrollments. As more institutions of higher learning hire online adjunct faculty members, the need for engagement may become problematic. Specifically, online adjunct faculty encounter a myriad of problems associated with the mere fact that they are not in the physical presence of the institutions they serve. Faculty engagement is paramount on a number of levels including the potential correlation of faculty engagement to student outcomes. The authors will employ a Delphi approach reviewing peer reviewed literature to show the importance of engagement as well as the associated challenges of universities to effectively engage online adjunct faculty.

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