Research shows most teachers teach as they were taught. However, distance educators lack a model or benchmark for online teaching because many of them have not taken online courses as students. Indeed, many studies on teaching online point to the importance of training for online instructors. Few studies go into specifics about exactly what that training should look like. The purpose of this study is to examine best practices in professional development for instructors learning to teach online.
A research report produced by five faculty from NorthCentral University, a fully online institution, exploring the effects of using learning contracts with students pursuing graduate degrees in their institution’s programs.
This quantitative study provides evidence of the benefits of learning contracts in online higher education. In this study, data were gathered from doctoral students who had completed all course work and comprehensive exams, but failed to make expected progress on dissertation. The students were given the opportunity to participate in a voluntary program requiring the execution of a learning contract.
Melanie Shaw, Diane Blyler, Jama Bradley, Scott Burrus, and Raymond Rodriguez. “The Use of Learning Contracts to Promote Student Success in Online Doctoral Programs.” Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, (University of West Georgia, Distance Education Center) Volume XVIII, Number 3, Fall 2015.