1 International Journal of Case Method Research & Application (2008) XX, WACRA. All rights reserved ISSN FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE THE ADOPTION OF HYBRID COURSES IN HIGHER EDUCATION Helen Wittmann Elsa-Sofia Morote Dowling College SHIRLEY, NEW YORK, U.S.A. Abstract Faculty factors (technology, pedagogy, faculty-centered issues, and institutional policies) that influence the adoption of hybrid courses and faculty s misconceptions of hybrid courses are contrasted among different groups of 129 faculty at four institutions of higher education (offering or not offering online courses) in New York. No differences in factors where found among institutions; however having experience teaching hybrid courses positively influenced their perceptions of technology and pedagogy factors. In addition, faculty members from institutions with significant online distance experience have fewer misconceptions than faculty from institutions that do not have online distance experience. Finally, faculty that have taught hybrid courses will have better conceptions and fewer misconceptions of hybrid teaching. KEY WORDS: Hybrid learning, blended courses, professors, misconceptions, perceptions, online learning, colleges, policies INTRODUCTION Technological innovations are changing the way education is being delivered. To remain competitive, institutions of higher education must accommodate the changing needs of students. Hybrid education is one alternative that would allow administrators, faculty, and staff to be technologically innovative. Several studies show that hybrid-learning courses offer a new powerful paradigm [Arabasz, et al., 2003; Gould, 2003; Martyn, 2003; Osguthorpe & Graham, 2003; Riffee, 2003]. Hybrid courses are courses in which the delivery method is divided between online time and traditional face-to-face lecture time. Arabasz et al.  define hybrid courses as, The instructor combines elements of online distance learning and traditional face-to-face courses to replace some classroom sessions with virtual sessions, online forums, or web-based activities [p. 20]. In the same way, Young  suggests that hybrid courses and degree programs offer the best of both worlds. Likewise, Osguthorpe and Graham  said, Innovative uses of technology have begun to blur the distinctions between traditional and face-toface and more recent distance learning environments [p. 227]. As researches discuss the pedagogical soundness of hybrid courses, administrators of higher education begin to realize that hybrid learning has the potential of other benefits as well. Riffee  gives the example of hybrid learning programs developing institutional loyalty and alumni relationships. Research shows that many faculty members [professors] in higher education are reluctant to move into distance learning and away from traditional face-to-face instruction [Young, 2002; Gould, 2003; Hitt & Hartman, 2002]. Yet, institutions of higher education are challenged by overcrowded and costly facilities. Hybrid learning offers solutions to both problems. Martin  concludes, after studying the factors
2 202 International Journal of Case Method Research & Application (2008) XX, 2 influencing faculty adoption of web-based courses in teacher education, that the hybrid model is an excellent fit for institutions that want to enter the online arena while still ensuring quality education. Hybrid learning will allow colleges and universities the opportunity to maximize facility use, while meeting the needs of students [Gould, 2003]. In an interview with Carol Twigg, the Executive Director of the Center for Academic Transformation at Renesselear Polytechnic Institute, Veronikas and Shaughnessy  quote Twigg as stating, It s a hybrid world, you know. Students, faculty, all of us live [at the same time] in a face-to-face world and in an online world [p. 58]. In other words, technology is part of our life and education needs to embrace what already exists. Young  states that even traditional colleges such as Harvard are looking into hybrid learning. Sands  also claims that, Hybridity is the order of the day, as teachers combine the distributed teaching and learning of distance education with the comfortable interaction of the classroom in an effort to achieve a synthesis of the two [p. 1]. Professors have responded favorably to hybrid learning [Graham, Allen & Ure, 2005; Young, 2002; Gould, 2003]. Although most faculty members are reluctant to move a course from traditional face-to-face instruction to completely online, they seem more comfortable with moving part of the course online. A research study of online distance education from EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research [ECAR], Arabasz et al.  quotes Jonathan Anderson, Professor of Public Administration, University of Alaska Southeast, as saying in reference to hybrid courses, The result is not a reduction of class time, but a more effective use of class time [p. 38]. Online course management systems can be used for syllabi, lecture notes, student self-assessments, and discussion boards among a host of other practical uses. At the same time, faculty members have the opportunity to know their students and not lose the chance to observe and assess student achievements. According to Osguthorpe and Graham , the strengths and weaknesses of both traditional face-to-face instruction and online instruction can complement each other with the use of hybrid learning. Martyn  found that faculty reported students in hybrid courses achieved learning outcomes equal to or greater than those enrolled in traditional face-to-face courses. According to Gould  faculty that have taught hybrid courses report increased interaction with classmates and instructor alike. In a study conducted by Taradi, Radie, & Pokrajac , notes that although more than three quarters of web-based learning students felt that the class was more demanding, they would repeat the experience. Twigg  cautions that there is no perfect formula for the amount of time for each; the split could be 50 percent of the time in traditional face-to-face lecture and 50 percent online; 90 percent traditional face-to-face and 10 percent online; or even 60 percent traditional face-to-face and 40 percent online. Each course should be treated individually to ensure the right mix of both online time and traditional face-to-face lecture time. With the growth of new learning pedagogies in higher education faculty, adoption and implementation is a pivotal factor. Faculty members are the developers and executors of hybrid courses. The authors are interested in what the perceptions are of the needs to teach hybrid courses, and what faculty members actually know about hybrid learning. The data gathered about faculty perceptions, conceptions and misconceptions will allow administrators to make better decisions in implementing hybrid education. Informed administrators will then be able to create policies institutional changes to remain competitive. THE STUDY Arabasz, Parani, Fawcett  analyzed the results of a survey of 274 institutions of higher education where eighty percent reported to offer some form of distance education. If higher education is going to be effective in giving students an education that will make them more effective in the world, they must create new and interesting solutions; hybrid learning is one alternative [Bleed, 2001; Gould, 2003]. Arabasz et al. [2003; Martin, 2003] also found adoption of online courses by faculty at independent institutions of higher education to be insignificant. Few studies have looked at hybrid courses where the delivery method is divided between online time and traditional lecture time or hybrid courses have been grouped together with online courses. Hybrid courses are not synonymous with online courses and should be looked at individually. Hybrid education has its own characteristics and research conducted suggests that is should be considered as an alternate way of delivering quality education. Hybrid education will allow institutions of higher education the opportunity to address facility utilization while meeting the needs of students [Gould, 2003]. Martin  states, Faculty expect students to use
3 International Journal of Case Method Research & Application (2008) XX, technology, but themselves are not fully exposed to all the ramifications of computer-based learning, including online instruction [p. 7]. This study focuses on faculty perceptions of technology, pedagogy, faculty-centered issues, and institutional policies. In addition, faculty conceptions, and misconceptions of hybrid education courses are also analyzed. Two research questions guided this study: Do faculty conceptions or misconceptions differ between institutions with online distance education programs and institutions with no online distance education programs and between faculty who have taught hybrid courses and those who have not? Do faculty members perceive the influence of technology, pedagogy, faculty-centered issues, and institutional policies differently in institutions with online distance education programs and institutions with no distance education programs and between faculty who have taught hybrid courses and those who have not? SELECTION OF SUBJECTS METHODOLOGY The participants of this study were faculty members at four independent institutions of higher education in New York State. Two of the institutions offer online distance learning degree programs, while the other two institutions do. The first institution, with campuses in New York City and Westchester County, has a total enrollment of 13,962 students and 1,130 faculty members. Programs offered include online programs with individual classes to fully online degree programs. The second institution has an enrollment of more 11,000 students and 933 faculty members. The institution also has multiple campuses located in New York City, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. At this institution students can enroll in individual online courses or may earn their degrees in programs that are fully online. The third institution is a large university with a total enrollment of more than 27,000 students and over 2,000 faculty members. There are six campuses located in Brooklyn, Nassau County, Suffolk County, Rockland County, and Westchester County. There are no online courses offered. The fourth institution is a small college with a total enrollment of 6,900 students and 128 full-time faculty members. The institution has two campuses located in Suffolk County. The institution offers three online courses and one hybrid course. There are no online degree programs offered at this time. DATA GATHERING Deans or provosts at the four institutions were asked for permission to invite the faculty to participate in the study. Since the direct contact did not yield satisfactory results, faculty members were selected from the institutional web pages at three of the schools. 111 faculty members were then contacted and invited to complete the online survey. At one institution, an administrator sent to 304 faculty members. In total, 637 faculty members were contacted and asked to complete an online survey. Perseus Survey Solutions [http://www.perseus.com/survey/software/surveysolutions efm.html] was used to create the online survey. The quantitative responses were entered into the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences [SPSS]. The qualitative questions were coded and examined separately. The study was conducted in the Fall of faculty members completed the survey. The distribution of respondents was: institutions offering online distance education programs 36 [27.9%], institutions that do not offer online distance education programs 90 [69.8%]. The distribution of faculty who had taught hybrid courses was 43 [33.6%], faculty who had not taught hybrid courses 84 [65.6%]. The confidence interval of the response rate was 7.7%. INSTRUMENT The online survey consisted of three parts. For the complete survey refer to Wittmann . Part I asked demographic information such as years of teaching, content area affiliation school, rank, current position, tenure status, and [how many hybrid courses taught], current use of hybrid education. Part II, using a Likert scale (1-No Influence to 5-Very Influential) surveyed faculty were asked to rate whether
4 204 International Journal of Case Method Research & Application (2008) XX, 2 they were influenced by technology, pedagogy, faculty-centered issues, or institutional policies for decisions regarding whether or not to teach hybrid courses. Technological Factors: Course development, Hardware/Software availability, Technical support, Pace of technological change, Connectivity issues/problems, Reliability of technology, Privacy rights, and Network security. Pedagogical Factors: Nature of course content, Course objectives, Methods of evaluation and assessment, Depersonalization of instruction. Faculty-centered Issues: Intellectual property ownership/rights, Control of curriculum, Promotion and tenure, Institution reward system, Annual performance review, Level of administrative support, and Faculty load. Institutional Policies: Institutional policies on the use of hybrid learning, Incentives for teaching hybrid courses and Classroom based courses and hybrid courses are given the same weight in terms of faculty load. Part III of the survey measured faculty conceptions and misconceptions regarding implementation of hybrid courses that may hinder faculty interest in implementing hybrid courses: DESCRIPTION OF SURVEY ITEMS WITH TRUE/FALSE CONCEPTIONS Conceptual Questions Faculty time commitment is greater for hybrid learning preparation, delivery, and revision. Faculty members do not have complete control of his/her [their] [sic] intellectual property. Hybrid delivery of instruction is not as effective as teaching students face-toface. Hybrid teaching lacks a cohesive sense of community. Hybrid teaching is not appropriate for all courses. Content is better in the hybrid course. Correct Answers True = The time demands of the faculty member increase because instructional materials must be developed for both computer mediated and face-toface instruction (Graham et al., 2005). False = The legal history makes clear that, barring specific agreement otherwise, the faculty member who develops and teaches a course of instruction comprised of classroom lectures, discussions, and exercises owns the supporting courseware (Donohue & Howe-Steiger, 2005). False = Researchers at the University of Central Florida have observed, during six years of analysis, that students enrolled in hybrid courses consistently obtain grades of A, B, or C at a rate of up to six percent higher than that of students in comparable face-to-face or fully online courses (Dziuban et al. 2004). False = In a hybrid format, students are highly engaged in the course progress, both with their classmates and with their instructor (Gould, 2003). True = The researcher feels that although most classes in any discipline can be taught using hybrid learning there are a few classes that would be more conducive to traditional face-to-face lecture such as an introduction to drawing course. True = Hybrid course development requires careful scheduling of assignments, and the creation of effective distance learning components demands a focused preparation of course material. Therefore, instructors come to reevaluate how their course
5 International Journal of Case Method Research & Application (2008) XX, Students taught with hybrid learning perform at least as well or better than those taught in a traditional face-to-face classroom. Cheating in a hybrid course is a common threat to the quality of hybrid courses. Teacher student interaction is difficult when using hybrid-learning technology to deliver instruction. I need special materials to teach hybrid courses. Problems with equipment are a major concern to faculty delivering hybrid courses. Adequate technical support systems are a major concern to faculty delivering hybrid courses. Students need access to a home computer. Approximately how much time would it take to develop an effective hybrid course? Faculty members need strong technology skills to develop a hybrid course. Source: Wittmann , pages materials and instructional strategies achieve course competencies and objectives (Gould, 2003). True = Researchers at the University of Central Florida have observed, during six years of analysis, that students enrolled in hybrid courses consistently obtain grades of A, B, or C at a rate of up to six percent higher than that of students in comparable face-to-face or fully online courses (Dziuban et al., 2004). False = Qualitative assessments of better student learning are supported by quantitative data from the University of Central Florida (UCF). UCF reports that students in hybrid courses achieve slightly better grades than students in traditional face-to-face courses or to total online courses. (Hybrid Courses, n.d.) False = In a hybrid format, students are highly engaged in the course progress, both with their classmates and with their instructor (Gould, 2003). True = often accomplished through an off-the-shelf Course Management System, such as Blackboard, Prometheus or WebCT, but it can also be accomplished via something as simple as , or as information-rich as streaming video (Sands, 2002). True = An introductory course motivates and gives confidence to teachers to use technology in their classrooms, while the lack of technology resources and technology support frustrates them (Morote, 2004). True = An introductory course motivates and gives confidence to teachers to use technology in their classrooms, while the lack of technology resources and technology support frustrates them (Morote, 2004). False = The researcher knows that there has been money allocated at colleges and universities for computer labs open to student use. Public libraries also have connectivity to the internet. It is critical to commit the time necessary to redesign a traditional course into a Hybrid course. A busy instructor should allocate a six month lead time for developing a hybrid course for the first time. It is ideal for the instructor to obtain release time from teaching one course or to allot time during the summer to dedicate to hybrid course development. (Hybrid Courses, n.d.). False = often accomplished through an off-the-shelf Course Management System, such as Blackboard, Prometheus or WebCT, but it can also be accomplished via something as simple as , or as information-rich as streaming video (Sands, 2002).
6 206 International Journal of Case Method Research & Application (2008) XX, 2 FINDINGS The first research question deals with factors influencing faculty decision in use hybrid teaching. Part II of the survey measures the amount of influence that technology, pedagogy, faculty-centered issues, and institutional policies had on the respondents decisions about hybrid education. The second research question deals with misconceptions/conceptions that faculty have about hybrid teaching. The response to part III of the survey served to analyze those. DISTRIBUTION OF RESPONDENTS BY INSTITUTIONS OFFERING ONLINE DEGREE PROGRAMS AND INSTITUTIONS NOT OFFERING ONLINE DEGREE PROGRAMS Institution Frequency Percent Valid Percent Traditional Online Total No answer DISTRIBUTION OF RESPONDENTS EXPERIENCE IN TEACHING HYBRID Taught Hybrid Courses? Frequency Percent Valid Percent Yes No Total No answer First Research Question: Do faculty conceptions or misconceptions differ between institutions with online distance education programs and institutions without distance education programs and between faculty who have taught hybrid courses and those who have not? To account for misconceptions, each misconception was given a value of one and conceptions were given a value of zero. To account for conceptions, each conception was given a value of one and the misconceptions were given a value of zero. Table 1 illustrates group statistics and independent-samples t test for faculty misconceptions and conceptions depending on whether they are from institutions that offer online degree programs or from institutions that do not offer online degree programs. TABLE 1 Independent-samples t -Test for faculty Misconceptions and Conceptions: Online [OL] vs. Non-Online [NOL]; N OL = 36, N NOL = 39 M NOL SD NOL M OL SD OL t df p Misconceptions * Conceptions * The mean difference is significant An independent t-test was conducted to evaluate the hypothesis that faculty misconceptions or conceptions differ among faculty from institutions with online distance education program and institutions without online distance education programs. Table 1 reveals a significance difference t [60.51] = 2.05, p =. 05. This indicates that faculty from institutions with online distance learning programs hold fewer misconceptions than faculty from institutions that do not offer online distance education programs. No significant statistical difference was shown for faculty from institutions with online distance education programs or institutions with no online distance education programs.
7 International Journal of Case Method Research & Application (2008) XX, Table 2 illustrates group statistics and independent-samples t-test for faculty misconceptions or conceptions depending on whether faculty members have taught a hybrid course or whether they have not taught a hybrid course. TABLE 2 Independent- samples t-test for Misconceptions and Conceptions: Taught [T] vs. Not Taught [NT]; N T = 40, N NT = 40 M T SD T M NT SD NT t df p Misconceptions * Conceptions * * The mean difference is significant The table shows that faculty who have taught hybrid courses have significantly fewer misconceptions about hybrid education t[77.97] = -3.52, p =.00. There is also significance t [77.39] = 2.01, p =.05 for faculty conceptions indicating that faculty who have taught hybrid courses clearer conceptions of hybrid courses. Second Research question: Do faculty perceive the influence of technology, pedagogy, facultycentered issues, and institutional policies differently in institutions with online distance education programs offered from institutions without distance education programs and between faculty who have taught hybrid courses and those who have not? Table 3 reports results of an independent samples t-test for faculty perceptions of technology, pedagogy, faculty-centered issues, and institutional policies in reference to whether they are from institutions that offer online degree programs or they are from institutions that do not offer online degree programs. TABLE 3 Independent- samples t-test: online and not online faculty perceptions: Online [OL] vs. Non-Online [NOL]; N OL = 36, N NOL = 39 M NOL SD NOL M OL SD OL t df P Technology Pedagogy Faculty-Centered Issues Institutional Policies * The mean difference significant No statistical significance for any of the four factors technology, pedagogy, faculty-centered issues, or institutional policies was found. Table 4 reports results from an independent-samples t-test for faculty perceptions of technology, pedagogy, faculty-centered issues, and institutional policies in reference to whether they have taught using hybrid learning or whether they have not taught using hybrid learning. TABLE 4 Independent-samples t-test: Taught and not Taught faculty perceptions: Taught [T] vs. Not Taught [NT]; N T = 40, N NT = 40 M T SD T M NT SD NT t df p Technology * Pedagogy * Faculty-Centered Issues Institutional Policies * The mean difference is significant
8 208 International Journal of Case Method Research & Application (2008) XX, 2 There was no statistical significance for faculty-centered issues or institutional policies. However, faculty perceive technology as significant t [97.28] = 2.04, p =.05. A mean difference of 2.61 indicates that faculty who have taught hybrid courses perceive technology as significantly more important than do faculty who have not. Faculty also perceive pedagogy as significant t  = -2.06, p =.04; a mean difference of suggests that faculty who have taught hybrid courses consider pedagogy as less significant than those faculty who have not. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS Previous research [Graham et al., 2005; Gould, 2003; Martyn, 2003; Dziuban et al., 2004; Osguthorpe & Graham, 2003] on hybrid education confirms that those faculty members who have used hybrid learning have more positive perceptions towards utilizing online and traditional face-to-face instruction. Gould  indicated that because hybrid course development requires more acute attention, faculty members come to reevaluate their course materials and strategies. The present study confirms previous research showing that experience with teaching hybrid courses matters in faculty understanding of technology, pedagogy, faculty-centered issues and institutional policies. The data further indicates that faculty members who had taught utilizing hybrid courses had fewer misconceptions, and better conceptions than faculty who had not taught hybrid courses. The institutional environment and experience with online learning did affect faculty conceptions and misconceptions. Faculty conceptions and misconceptions from schools with online distance educations programs and those without online distance education programs differ significantly at the.05 level of statistical difference. The authors conclude that faculty from institutions that offer online degree programs have fewer misconceptions than those from institutions that do not offer online degree programs. Research by Christensen et al. [Christensen; 2003; Graham et al., 2005; Gould, 2003; Osguthorpe & Garnham, 2003; Smelser, 2002] states that faculty who have taught using hybrid education spend more time and effort in developing and implementing courses, therefore, increasing the pedagogical ideologies involved. Gould  indicates that students in hybrid courses were able to see connections between assignments and the objectives, therefore, making the course more pedagogically sound. Data collected for this study indicate that technology, pedagogy, faculty-centered issues, and institutional policies all have a degree of influence on faculty members decisions to develop and implement hybrid courses. As suggested, technology has the greatest impact on faculty perceptions, conceptions, and misconceptions of hybrid education courses. It is the authors view that administrators at institutions of higher education play an important role in managing the changes in the way education is being delivered today. Their decisions impact directly on faculty perceptions, conceptions, and misconceptions toward hybrid education. Technological innovations are changing the way education is being delivered. In order for institutions of higher education to stay competitive, they must accommodate the changing needs of students. Hybrid education is one alternative for administrators, faculty, and staff wanting to be technologically innovative. Understanding faculty misconceptions of hybrid education will aid in creating change. Proper training must be a priority if administrators want faculty to develop and implement hybrid courses at institutions of higher education. At this time, administrators have the opportunity to dispel misconceptions of hybrid education while ensuring success of this new learning paradigm. REFERENCES Arabasz, P., Parani, J., & Fawcett, D. Supporting e-learning in higher education. ECAR (2003), 3, pp Bleed, R. A hybrid campus for the new millennium. EDUCAUSE Review (2001), 36(1), pp Christensen, T. Finding a balance: constructivist pedagogy in a blended course. The Quarterly Review of Distance Education (2003), 4(3), pp Donohue, B., & Howe-Steiger, L. Faculty and administrators collaborating for e-learning courseware. EDUCAUSE Quarterly (2005), 1, pp
9 International Journal of Case Method Research & Application (2008) XX, Dziuban, C., Hartman, J., & Moskal, P. Blended learning. ECAR, Research Bulletin, 2004(7) Retrieved March 2, Gould, T. Hybrid classes: Maximizing institutional resources and student learning. Proceedings of the 2003 ASCUE Conference (2003), pp Retrieved February 18, 2005, from Graham, C.R., Allen, S., & Ure, D. Benefits and challenges of blended learning environments. In M. Khosrow Pour (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology (2005), v (1). pp Hershey PA: Idea Group Reference Hitt, J.C., & Hartman, J.L. Distributed learning: New challenges and opportunities for institutional leadership. EDUCAUSE (2002). Retrieved February 14, 2005 from distributed-learning /distributed-learning-03.pdf Hybrid courses offer advantages over face-to-face teaching or to Total online courses. Retrieved March 6, 2006, from University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Learning Technology Web site: Martin, M. Factors influencing faculty adoption of web-based courses in teacher education programs within the State University of New York (2003). (UMI No ). Dissertation Abstracts International, 64(04A), Martyn, M. The hybrid online model: good practice a hybrid approach to online learning offers important lessons for institutions entering the online arena. EDUCAUSE Quarterly (2003), 1, pp Retrieved February 14, 2005, from Morote, E-S. Can an introductory instructional technology course change instructors perceptions of their technological skills? In name (Ed.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference 2004 Atlanta, March 1-6, 2004 (pp ). Norfolk, VA: AACE. Osguthorpe, R., & Graham, C. Blended learning environments: Definitions and directions. The Quaterly Review of Distance Education (2003), 4(3), pp Retrieved March 1, 2005, from Academic Search Elite. Riffee, W. Putting a faculty face on distance education programs. Syllabus (2003), December 14, 2004, from Retrieved Sands, P. Inside outside, upside downside: Strategies for connecting online and face-to-face instruction in hybrid courses. Teaching with Technology Today (2002), 8(6). Retrieved March 1, 2005, from Smelser, L.M. Making connections in our classrooms: Online and off. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting on College Composition and Communication Chicago, IL. (2002). Taradi, S., Taradi, M., Radie, K., & Pokrajac Blended problem-based learning with web technology positively impacts student learning outcomes in acid-based physiology. Advances in Physiology Education (2005), 29, Retrieved February 25, 2005, from /Article12984.phtml Twigg, C.A. Innovations in online learning: moving beyond no significant difference. Center for Academic Transformation at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (2001). Retrieved March 1, 2005, from
10 210 International Journal of Case Method Research & Application (2008) XX, 2 Wittmann, H. Faculty Perceptions, Conceptions And Misconceptions, Of Factors Contributing To The Adoption Of Hybrid Education At Independent Institutions Of Higher Education In New York (2006) (UMI No ) Veronikas, S., & Shaughnessy, M. Teaching and learning in a hybrid world: an interview with Carol Twigg. EDUCAUSE review (2004), 39(4), pp Retrieved February 25, 2005, from cause.edu/pub/er/erm04/erm0443.asp Young, J. Hybrid teaching seeks to end the divide between traditional and online instruction: By blending approaches, colleges hope to save money and meet students needs. The Chronicle of Higher Education (2002), 48, p. A33. Retrieved February 5, 2005, from i28/28a03301.htm