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Developing online teaching competencies of educators in Turkey

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In this study, the training activities in order to teach online teaching competencies to educators at Turkish state universities were investigated. Survey design was used. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. Thirty distance education unit administrators or employees from 30 universities participated in the research. According to the results, the training needs of the educators were determined by only 11 universities’ distance education units. At 21 universities, the educators stated their training needs without being asked. In a large majority (f=24, 80%) of the universities, the training needs were determined in some way. In addition, almost all (f=27) universities provided training activities related to online teaching competencies. Most of the universities (f=26) provided trainings by their own units. Twenty-one universities preferred face-to-face training. Twelve universities had these trainings obligatory for their educators. Four universities stated that they presented a certificate at the end of the training. Eleven universities presented their trainings via an asynchronous platform. Moreover, 23 universities taught technological subjects in online teaching competency, eight universities taught pedagogical subjects, and only four universities taught both. However, universities need to teach on both subjects. Besides, the theory of andragogy and social, cognitive and teaching presence were not encountered in the contents of the training activities.
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Akdeniz Eğitim Araştırmaları Dergisi, S ayı 22, Yıl 2017, ss.38-52.
Mediterrane an Journal o f Educational Research, Issue 22, Year 2017, pp.38-52.
38
Developing Online Teaching Competencies of Educators in
Turkey
Serkan İZMİRLİ* & Ömer KIRMACI** 2
Abstract In this study , the training activities in order to teach online teac hing c ompe tenc ies to educ ators at Turkish state
universities were investigated. Survey des ign was use d. Bo th quantitative and qualitativ e data were co llected. Thirty distanc e
educ atio n unit administrators o r employ ees fr o m 30 universities participated in the research. According to the results, the
training ne e ds of the educators were determined by only 11 universities distanc e e ducation units. At 21 universities, the
educators stated their training needs without being asked. In a larg e majority (f=24, 80%) of the universities, the training
needs were determined in some way. In addition, almost all (f=27) unive rsities provided training activities related to o nline
teaching competencies. Most of the universities (f=26) provided trainings by their own units. Twenty -one universities
preferred face-to-face training . T welv e universities had these training s oblig ato ry fo r the ir educ ators . Four universities stated
that the y presente d a ce rtific ate at the e nd of the training. Eleven universities pre sente d their training s via an asy nchro nous
platform. Moreover, 23 universities taught tec hnolo gic al subj e c ts in o nline teac hing c ompetenc y, e ight universities taug ht
pedagog ical subjects, and only fo ur univ ersities taught both. Ho wever, universities need to te ac h on bo th subjec ts. Besides,
the the ory o f andrag og y and so cial, c ognitive and teaching presence we re no t enc ountered in the co ntents of the training
activities.
Keywords: online teaching competency, online teaching, open and distance educa tion, distance education
rkiyedeki itmenlerin Çevrimiçi Öğretim Yeterliklerinin Geliştirilmesi
Öz: Bu çalışmada, Türkiye’de devlet üniversitele rinde eğitmenlere çevrimiçi ö ğretim yeterlikleri kazandırmak iç in yapılan
eğ itim etkinlikleri incelenmiştir. Tarama modeli kullanılan araştırmada nicel ve nitel veri toplanmıştır. Otuz ünive rsitenin 30
uzaktan eğitim birimi yö neticisi veya çalışanı araştırmaya katılmıştır. Araştırmanın bulgularına göre, sadece 11 ünive rsitenin
uzaktan eğitim birimi tarafından e ğitmenlerin eğitim gereksinimlerinin belirlendiği gö rülmüştür. Yirmi bir üniversitede ise
eğ itmenler, kendilerine so rulmadan eğitim gereksinimlerini belirtmişlerdir. Ünive rsitelerin ç oğunda (f=24, %80) eğitim
gere ksinimleri bir şekilde belirlenmiştir. Ayrıca üniversitelerin neredey se tamamı (f=27) çevrimiçi öğretim yeterlikleri
konusunda eğ itim etkinlikleri düzenlemektedir. Ünive rsitelerin çoğu (f=26) kendi birimleri aracılığıyla e ğitim sunmaktadır.
Yirmi bir üniversite eğ itimleri yüz yüze olarak vermektedir. On iki üniversite, eğitmenler için bu eğitimi zorunlu tutmaktadır.
Dö rt üniversite e ğitim so nunda se rtifika ve rdiğini belirtmiştir. On bir üniversite itimlerini asenkro n platformlardan
ve rmektedir. Bunların yanı sıra 23 üniversite çevrimiçi öğretim y eterliliği ile ilgili teknik konuda, se kiz üniversite pedagojik
konuda ve sadec e dört üniversite ise her iki ko nuda e ğitim sunmaktadır. Ancak üniversitelerin her iki konuda e ğitim vermesi
gere kmektedir. Ayrıca eğ itim etkinliklerinin içe riğinde andrago ji kuramı ve sosy al, bilişsel v e öğ retimse l bulunuşluk
ko nularına rastlanmamıştır.
An ah tar kelimeler: çevrimiçi öğretim yeterliği, çevrimiçi öğretim, açık ve uza ktan eğitim, uzaktan eğitim
Intro duction
Ther e are various differences betw een teaching a course from a distance and teaching it face to face.
The clearest difference is that the educator cannot know how the student reacts to what s/he has written in
an online course and what s/he has said on a live broadcast. Another difference is that distance education is
carried out with the help of technology (Moore & Kearsley, 2005). In addition, the educators teaching face-
to-face tend to use their learning materials without changing in online environments when they start to
teach online (Hogan, McKnight & Legier, 2006; McQuiggan, 2012). Therefore, learning materials which
does not contain any interaction and does not prepared for individual learning are used in online learning
_____________
2 rti bat Yazarı, Y rd. Doç. Dr., Çanakkale Onsek iz M art Üniv ersit esi,it im Fak ülte si, sizmirli@gmail.com
**Uzm., Kırklareli Üniversitesi, Uzak tan Eğitim Uygulama & Araştı rma M erke zi
S e rkan İZMİRL İ & Ö mer KIRMACI
39
environments. These materials will not make an important contribution to learning in online teaching.
Hence, the educators who teach online are expected to have different competencies than those necessary to
give a traditional course.
Having online teaching competencies is important for an educator. The educators who will teach
online need to have technological and pedagogical competencies alongside field knowledge (cont ent)
(Darabi, Sikorski & Harvey, 2006; Hogan et al., 2006). First of all, the educator who will provide training
online is expected to have technical skills (Moodle, Blackboard and so on) in order to use learning
management systems and synchronous virtual classroom systems (Adobe Connect and so on).
Furthermore, as Bailey and Card (2009) stated, an educator is required to have pedagogical competencies
such as developing his/her relations with students (developing empathy with students and so on),
engaging students in the course (trying to get answers when discussing questions by using discussing
boards and so on), being punctual (giving homework in time and so on), having strong communication
skills (sending informing text messages and so on), and clarifying expectations (preparing a detailed
syllabus and so on).
Ther e are some technological and pedagogical problems in open and distance education. The
organization of online live broadcast courses are based more on educator-centered education than on
student-centered education and educators seem to underutilize additional materials to enrich their cour ses.
Additionally, educators do not usually participate in online discussion forums, and do not respond to e-
mails on time (Dinçer & Yeşilpınar-Uyar, 2015). In addition to this, due to the fact that educators cannot
estimate the period of the homework or application to be done using online platforms, they give short
deadlines to students. These problems may discour age students from participating in online courses or
even withdraw completely (Bilgiç & Tüzün, 2015; Dinçer & Yeşilpınar-Uyar, 2015; Gillet-Swan, 2017).
There is no compulsory attendance for many courses in online education (Moore & Kearsley, 2005), and
therefore keeping the student in the system, engaging with the course and motivating applications are
needed. And the one who may do that is the educator who has online teaching competencies.
When the educators learn the process, they b egin to provide training more efficiently (Hogan,
McKnight & Lagier, 2006). Therefore, i
t would be useful for the educator to be trained before
online
teaching to be more productive until he/she gains adequate online teaching competency. Hogan, McKnight
and Lagier (2006) stated that before an educator teaches online, he/she needs to undergo in-service training
about technological and pedagogical subjects. In this context, university administrators are expected to
arrange technological and pedagogical education for educators and support them (Bailey & Card, 2009).
Technological and pedagogical training activities for educators teaching online have become increasingly
common; therefore, Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platforms including Coursera and Udemy have
cour ses such as ‘Learning to Teach Online’ (Coursera, 2017b). Furthermore, in var ious universities, in-
service trainings about online teaching competencies are held. For example, The University of Illinois
(2017) has opened an online course entitled “Overview of Online Instruction”.
Darabi et al., (2006) indicated that more studies on the content of training on teaching online for
educators ar e needed. Since, like in the w orld, online distance education has been spreading out in Turkey,
the current situation for training activities on online t eaching competencies to educators in Turkish state
universities is explored.
Purpose
In this study, the training activities in order to teach online teaching competencies to educators at
Turkish state universities were investigated. For t his pur po s e, answers to the quest ions below were sought:
1. How are the training needs related to the online teaching competencies of the educators
determined?
Developing Online Teaching Competencies of Educators in Turkey
40
2. How ar e the online teaching competency trainings provided to educators?
This study is expected to contribute to the existing body of literature on online teaching competency.
Furthermore, it is expected that the study will create awareness for distance education unit administrators
and educators. The research findings are also expected to help distance education units in preparing
training activities about online teaching competencies.
Open and Distance Education in Turkey
Many associate, undergraduate, master programs and certificate programs in Turkey are carried out
online. The Council of Higher Education (CHE) has prepared a set of “methods and principles on distance
education in higher education institutions” (Council of Higher Education [CHE], 2017a) in order to open
and carry out distance education programs at the level of associate, undergraduate and master degrees.
Furthermore, it is stated in the methods and principles on distance education of the CHE that 30% of the
courses in formal programs can be provided via distance education. To provide distance education at
Turkish universities, distance education centers or faculties have been established. These units provide
learning management system and synchronous virtual class to distance education programs offered by
colleges, gr aduate school etc. In addition, they provide technical support and arrange training activities for
academicians who provide online teaching.
Online Teaching Competencies
Competency is the state of b eing well qualified when execut ing a mission or task (Spector & de la Teja,
2001). In this context, online teaching competency can be defined as having the necessary knowledge and
skills in order to teach via online platforms. Educators having online teaching competencies stated in the
literature may increase the quality of online teaching. The online teaching competencies expected from
educators ar e indicated below.
Engaging students and encouraging presence: The most important general featur es expected by
online educators are to evoke their own presence and to pr event the students from feeling
unattended and lonely (Boettcher, 2011; Dincer & Yesilpinar Uyar, 2016). For this reason,
besides synchronous courses in the system, the educator has to motivate the students, make
announcements, reply to e-mails and do such activities by writing messages on the discussion
forums of asynchronous platforms by entering the system daily (Bailey & Card, 2009; Boettcher,
2011). More particularly , meeting the students’ expectations in due course is regarded as
important in terms of students’ att endance (Baily & Card, 2009; Darabi et al., 2006; Kuo, Walker,
Belland, Schroder & Kuo, 2014; Sumer, 2016).
Developing social, teaching and cognitive presence: The online teacher should desire to
develop social presence, teaching presence and cognitive presence (Boettcher, 2011). Various
activities should be held in order to encourage active participation for the students.
Establishment of online discussion groups, and social networks and prompting teachers to
promote teacher-student, student-student and student-resource interaction is therefore
necessar y (Boettcher, 2011; Darabi et al., 2006; Moore & Kearsley, 2005).
Preparing syllabus and related guidelines: The online educator has to clearly to state his/her
expectations from the students in terms of making contact with the students and how long they
have to study weekly (Boettcher, 2011; Gulb ahar, 2012; Moore & Kearsley, 2005). In this regard,
it is necessary that preparing instructions determining the expected behaviors of the students
related to the course period (Darabi et al., 2006) and specifying procedures such as scoring,
giving feedback, and using communication channels should be determined and discussed with
students (Bailey & Card, 2009; Moore & Kearsley, 2005).
S e rkan İZMİRL İ & Ö mer KIRMACI
41
Investig ating the ideal methods to develop effective communication: In terms of teachers
developing intimate relations with the students and providing more effective learning, he/she
has to ask himself or herself the question “How can I assist? (Bailey & Card, 2009). In this
respect, it is expected that the teacher investigates an appropriate manner of interaction and
then working on it (Darabi et al., 2006), uses mutual empathy towards the limitations that have
been exper ienced (Baily & Card, 2009) and struggles to overcome these limitations together
with the student (Moore & Kearsley, 2005).
Having pedagogical competence: Course contents and materials (course notes and other
resources) have to be pr epar ed in detail and in accordance with the principles of e-learning and
multimedia design principles (Moore & Kearsley, 2009). The content prepar ed has t o be
organized such that the students could easily reach it via their computers (Boettcher, 2011). The
materials which compose the course content should be prepared in an integrated manner and
ready for the first lesson (Bailey & Car d, 2009; Gulbahar, 2012).
Having technical competence: The technological competencies of the online teachers have to be
evaluated pursuant to integrating the new technologies to the course and adapting them to new
learning environments beyond the present utilization of technology (Bailey & Card, 2009).
To be able to observe individual differences: Online distance education provides an
opportunity to consider individual differences and is suitable for student-centered education.
Ther efor e, the online teacher has to use the appropriate communication and interaction
channels with the students by using synchronous and asynchronous course tools (Darabi et al.,
2006; Moore & Kearsley, 2005). On the other hand, with the appropriate tools, the development
of the students should be monitored and the necessar y feedback should be provided on time.
Theory of Andragogy
The pedagogical model that focuses on child learning had difficulties in meeting adult learning needs
(Knowles, 1980). Therewith, the theory of andragogy about adult learning was put forward by Knowles
(1980). The five assumptions of the theory of andragogy for online learning are the following (Blondy, 2007;
Knowles, 1980):
Adults are self-directed learners: In the online learning environment, the course educator should
expr ess the learning objectives at the beginning of the course and determine the specific
learning objectives of the learners. The cour se educator should deter mine the learning activities
preferences of learners or offer them a number of learning activities so that they can select the
appropriate one from among themselves.
Adults participate in the learning environment with their experiences: The online learning
environment should include group activities and interactive discussions that encourage learners
to shar e their experiences.
Adults enter the learning environment ready to learn: Online educators should know that
learners attend classes for a specific need. Educators help learners to meet their special needs.
For example, in a group activit y, educator can gather learners who have same expect ations.
Adults learn to solve their real life problems: The online educator should give assignments and
group pr oj ects that enable learners to combine real life situations w ith the theoretical concepts
of the cour se.
Adults beco me motivated to learn by internal facto rs: The online educator should r espect the
needs of learners. Educator should improve learners’ self-esteem by telling them their
Developing Online Teaching Competencies of Educators in Turkey
42
contributions to the lesson. When the educator benefitted from experience of one of the learners
in the discussion environment, the learner feels appreciated.
Educators teaching online should have knowledge about the theory of andragogy since their students
will mostly be adults. Therefore, training activities for educators teaching online should contain the theory
of andragogy.
Training Activities for Educators Providing Online Teaching
For a qualified online teaching, the educator should be trained in in technological (learning
management sy stem, etc.) and pedagogical (instructional principles for online education) dimensions
before teaching online (Bailey & Card, 2009; Hogan et al., 2006). The training activities should focus on
“planning and communication” in order to develop the interaction, and should pr epare the educators for
“co-operating” with instructional designers and computer programmers in order to arrange accurate and
complete course content (Darabi et al., 2006; Pallof & Pratt, 2009; Ragan & Schroeder, 2013).
Universities organize online training activities or courses for the educators to teach them how to teach
online. For instance, The University of Illinois (2017) has opened an online course for their academics,
entitled “Overview of Online Instruction” in order to obtain the necessary pedagogical and technical skills
to teach online successfully. The University of Wisconsin-Madison (2017) presents an online course named
“Professional Certificate in Online Education” targeting to develop the knowledge and skills of the
educators w ho teach online. Besides, in Coursera (2017a), which hosts MOOC, the universities or other
educational institutions present courses related to the online teaching. In Coursera, one of the courses
related to teaching how to teach online is Learning to Teach Online” (Courser a, 2017b). “Learning to
Teach Online” course aims for the educators to implement or develop online or mixed applications.
Method
Research Design
Since in this research, the current situation of equipping educators with online teaching competencies
in distance education units at Turkish universities was described, survey design was used in order to
answ er the research questions. In the survey research, data is collected from a group of participants to
describe some of the characteristics of the population of which the group is a constituent part (Fraenkel,
Wallen & Hyun, 2012).
Participants
The participants of this research were 30 distance education unit administrators or employees from 30
Turkish state universities which have distance education units (center or faculty) and taught online
courses. One participicant from each university participated in the resear ch. The participant selection
process was conducted as follow s:
The current information on the numbers, names and web pages of Turkish state universities was
accessed from the CHE w eb site (CHE, 2017b).
Web pages of Turkish state universities w ere examined and those w ho had distance education
units (center or faculty) and taught online courses were selected. 82 universities with these
characteristics were identified. Therefore, the target population was distance education unit
administrators or employees from each of the 82 Turkish state universities.
The original aim was reaching the entire target population, but only the unit administrators or
employees from each of the 30 universities (Appendix 1) volunteered to participate in the
research.
S e rkan İZMİRL İ & Ö mer KIRMACI
43
Some features of the participants such as university, position, title and distance education experience
are given in Tab le 1.
Table 1.
Features of the participants
University
Po sition
Title
Distanc e Educ ation
Experience (Year)
U1
Emp lo y e e
Spec ialist
5
U2
Vice Direc tor
Assoc.Dr.
3
U3
D ire c to r
Assist.Prof.Dr.
3
U4
Vice Direc tor
Lecturer
5
U5
Vice Dean
Assoc.Dr.
17
U6
D ire c to r
Assist.Prof.Dr.
1
U7
D ire c to r
Assist.Prof.Dr.
1
U8
Vice D ire c to r
Assist.Prof.Dr.
4
U9
Vice Direc tor
Spec ialist
5
U10
D ire c to r
Assist.Prof.Dr.
5
U11
Vice Direc tor
Assist.Prof.Dr.
6
U12
D ire c to r
Pro f.Dr.
6
U13
Vice Direc tor
Spec ialist
7
U14
Vice Direc tor
Lecturer
1
U15
Vice Direc tor
Lecturer
2
U16
Vice Dire c to r
Assist.Prof.Dr.
2
U17
D ire c to r
Assist.Prof.Dr.
3
U18
Vice Direc tor
Spec ialist
9
U19
D ire c to r
Assist.Prof.Dr.
1
U20
D ire c to r
Pro f.Dr.
10
U21
Vice Direc tor
Assoc.Dr.
9
U22
D ire c to r
Assist.Prof.Dr.
4
U23
Dire cto r
Assist.Prof.Dr.
3
U24
Vice Dire c to r
Lecturer
2
U25
Vice Direc tor
Lecturer
8
U26
Vice Direc tor
Spec ialist
7
U27
Vice Direc tor
Lecturer
2
U28
Emp lo y e e
Spec ialist
4
U29
Emp lo y e e
Spec ialist
3
U30
Vice Direc tor
Lecturer
10
As seen in Table 1, most of the participants worked at a Distance Education Center (f=28) and w ere
administrators (f=27). Besides, 16 of them have PhDs and 11 of them have the Assist.Prof.Dr. title. Their
distance education experience ranged from one to 17 years. The number of educators teaching online in
these universities ranged from 10 to above 500. Universities provide distance online education in programs
such as associate (f=12), undergraduate (f=3), undergraduate completion (f=11) and master’s (f=15). Turkish
Language, Usage of Basic Information Technology, English, Ataturk’s Principles and History of Turkish
Revolution named as CHE common compulsory courses in formal education can be taught online. 25
universities provided these courses online. In addition, 14 universities provided various certificate
programs.
Data Collectio n
An online questionnaire w as developed to determine the training activities on online teaching
competencies for educators by distance education units at Turkish state universities. The questionnaire had
open-ended and close-ended questions. After developing the questionnaire, a pilot application was
conducted and the questionnaire was finalized. The questionnaire had two parts. The first part included
demographics such as university, distance education unit, position in the unit, title, distance education
Developing Online Teaching Competencies of Educators in Turkey
44
exper ience, and the number of educators teaching online at university and distance education programs.
The second part had questions to answ er the resear ch questions. One such example is: What is the content
of the course/activity regarding teaching how to teach online to educators?”
Researchers tried to reach all target participants. Therefore, an online questionnaire link w as sent to the
e-mail accounts of units, directors, vice direct or s, deans and vice deans in all the 82 universities. There was
very little participation. Two weeks later, a second e-mail was sent. After that, the units were dialed by
phone until reaching someone in the unit. After all these attempts, 30 universities answ er ed the
questionnaire.
Data Analysis
Both quantitative and qualitative data was collected using a questionnaire. Frequency and percentage
were used for the quantitative data analysis. To analyze the qualitative data, the content analysis technique
was used (Yıldırım ve Şimşek, 2008). Two researchers analyzed data independently and reached categories
and codes. When they had a disagreement, they discussed and reached a consensus. While reporting, code
names were used for the participants. Code names were their university codes which were randomly
assigned to every university (U1, U2, U3 and so on).
Findings
Determining Training Needs related to the Online Teaching Competencies of the Educators
Teaching Online
The training needs related to the online teaching competencies of the educators teaching online were
determined in two ways. In the first method, the tr aining needs of the educat or s were determined by the
distance education units of the universities. In the second method, the educators stated their training needs
without being asked.
In the first method, only 11 universities carried out studies on determining needs related to the online
teaching competencies of the educators to teach online. Nineteen universities (2/3) did not perform any
needs assessment. The universities which determined the needs stated that they determined the educators
needs by means of interview (f=7), observation of their online classes (f=2), survey (f=2), and w orkshops
(f=1). U5 stated that: “We determine the needs by pre-interviewing”, and U12 stated their method of
determining the needs as We have determined the expectations and issues associated with the needs
analysis via workshops.”
In the second method, at 21 univer sities, the educators to teach online stated their needs related to the
online teaching competencies. Besides, in 9 of these universities, the educators did not state any needs. In
most of these universities, the educat or s informed their training needs to the distance education units via
some methods. The educator s stated their needs via interview (f=8), meeting (f=4) and online forms (f=1).
U4 mentioned that the educators stated their training needs as:Yes, they (educator s) have stated (training
needs) via interview s and meetings held”. On the other hand, some participants (f=10) mentioned that the
educators stated their tr aining needs; how ever, they did not mention the method they conveyed. For
instance, U6 affir med that a training was requested with the explanation Yes; however, he did not
indicate the method of stating the needs.
In Figure 1, the two methods of determining the traning needs are show n together. In a lar ge majority
(f=24) of these institutions, it was reported that the training needs w ere deter mined in some way. Some
units conducted needs analysis only on their own (f=3). Some units conducted their need analysis only
according to the demands from the educators (f=13). Some institutions planned (f=8) their training by using
both methods (the unit determining + the demand by educators).
S e rkan İZMİRL İ & Ö mer KIRMACI
45
Figure 1. The state of determining the training needs within the online teaching competences
Training Activities provided for the Educators to Equip them with Online Teaching Competencies
It was determined that almost all (f=27) universities provided training activities related to online
teaching compet encies. Only three institutions did not provide training activities. The reasons for the units
to provide training activities are indicated in Table 2.
Table 2.
The reason for providing tra ining activities
Theme
Frequency
Lack o f tec hnical skills observ ed
10
Improvement of quality and success in education
6
Gaining o nline teac hing experienc e
4
Enabling the educator to be more efficient
4
The e ducato r hav ing demands
3
The necessity of having skills different from formal education
1
Note. More than one reason for providing training activities was stated. Some universities did not state
any reasons.
As can be seen in Table 2, the participants stated the reasons of training as lack of observed technical
skills (f=10), improvement of quality and success in education (f=6), gaining online teaching experience
(f=4), enab ling the educator to be more efficient (f=4), the educator having demands (f=3) and the necessity
of having skills different from formal education (f=1). U9 stated “There ar e clear deficiencies regarding to
the utilization of LMS (learning
management system). He mentioned about the lack of technical skills
monit or ed. As U11 stated, the ultimate aim of education provided w as the impr ovement of success, he also
The numbe r of institutions where
training is de manded o nly by
e duc ato rs
The numbe r of institutions where
training is determined only by the
units
The number of institutions
de te rmining the ir ne eds via b ot h
hd
f= 3
f= 6
f= 8
f= 13
The number of institutions which did not
s t a te their ne eds in any way
Developing Online Teaching Competencies of Educators in Turkey
46
expr essed his opinion as “In order to reach the aimed quality in education…” Some universities stated that
they were in need of trainings in order to enab le the educators to gain exper ience. In this respect, U5 stated
that
The academicians who are experienced in face to face training have to have distance teaching
exper ience. In this sense, the educators assigned (to online teaching) have to be trained. U26, one of the
three institutions which did not provide training explained the reason as “Institutional problems such as
the problem of planning training”. U6 expressed it as “lack of equipment”.
It was stated that the online teaching competency trainings provided by the universities showed
differences with respect to some variables. These variables were provider of the training, the type of
training provided, the state of participation to the training, the state of providing certificate and the state of
providing asynchronous training. Table 3 summarizes the state of these variables of the online teaching
competency trainings.
Table 3.
Providing online teaching competency training
Category
S ub-c ate g or y
Frequency
P ro v ide r
Own Unit
26
Ano ther Univ ersity
1
Type of training prov ided
Fac e to Face
21
Online
2
Mixe d
4
State o f partic ipation
Oblig atory
12
Optio nal
15
S tate o f prov iding ce rtific ate
Yes
4
No
23
State of providing asy nchro nous training (As
co urse pac kage )
Yes
11
No
16
Note. In some questions, more than one option was selected.
As can be seen in Table 3, most of the universities provided online teaching competency trainings by
their own units (f=26). One of the participants, U3, stated that another university incorporated all their
educators into this certificate program training that they prepared. The vast majority of the units preferred
face-to-face training (f=21). How ever, some univer sities (f=4) stated that they provided mixed delivery of
instruction (face-to-face and online). W hile 12 of these universities had these trainings obligatory for their
educators, 15 of them provided training optionally. While four of these universities stated that they
presented a certificate at the end of the training, 23 of them stated that they did not present certificates. 11
of these universities stated that they presented their trainings via an asynchronous platform, which the
educator s could access anytime.
The content of online teaching competency trainings was generally technological and pedagogical. The
content of the online teaching competency training in universities was indicated in Table 4.
S e rkan İZMİRL İ & Ö mer KIRMACI
47
Table 4.
The content of online teaching competency training
Category
S ubto pi c s
Frequency
Te c hnolo g ical
Le arning M anagement S y stem
21
Virtual Class S ystems
11
Developing Content of Education and Multimedia Activities
8
Graphic De sign
3
Pe dag o gic al
Basis of E-learning
5
Te ac hing Me thods and Tec hniques, Interac tive Communication
5
E-Assessment
4
Instructio nal Design and E-Co urse Syllabus
3
Soc ial S oftware and Develo ping Technologies
3
Quality in e -Learning
1
Other
Co pyrig hts and Ethic s in E-Learning Pro c ess
3
Note. The titles w ere defined according to the tw o categories (technological or pedagogical). Many of
the universities trained mor e than one sub topic.
As can be seen on Table 4, the institutions which carried out training on online teaching competencies
provided training on educational contents under technological, pedagogical and other categories. Many of
the institutions (f=21) provided training in the utilization of learning management systems under the
technological category. 11 institutions were found to train the usage of virtual classroom systems under the
technological category. It was found that eight institutions trained technological issues, such as developing
materials via specific software (for instance, preparing PowerPoint presentations). On the other hand, in
pedagogical category, the basis of e-learning training was taught (f=5). Apart from that, “teaching methods
and techniques, and interactive communication” (f=5) and “e-assessment” (f=4) subjects partaking on
pedagogical categor y were trained as well. Furthermore, in other category, there w as a training subject
named “copyrights and ethics in e-learning process” (f=3).
The number of universities which provided training in the technological, pedagogical, both
technological and pedagogical and other categories was indicated on Tab le 5.
Table 5.
The number of universities which trained in the technological, pedagogical, both technological and pedagogical
and other categories
Category
Frequency
Te c hnolo g ical
23
Pe dag o gic al
8
Te chnolo gic al and Pedago gic al
4
Other
3
Developing Online Teaching Competencies of Educators in Turkey
48
As can be seen in Table 5, 23 universities provided training in technological subjects in online teaching
competency training, 8 universities provided training in pedagogical subjects and 4 universities provided
training in subjects in both categories. Many of the 27 universities (f=23) provided training in technological
subjects.
Discussion and Conclusion
In this study, the training activities carried out by the distance education units at universities in Turkey
in order to teach online teaching competencies to educator s who w ill teach online was examined. First of
all, the needs of training containing the online teaching competencies of the educators who will teach
online were revealed. According to the research findings, the training needs of the educators were
determined by the distance education unit and/or they were specified by the educators.
The planning of education activities for online teaching compete
ncy is a process of instructional
design. The general process of instructional design comprises the stages of analysis, design, development,
implementation and evaluation. The first step of instructional design is analysis (Simsek, 2016). This step
can be named as the most important step in defining and planning a healthy teaching process (Loughner &
Moller, 1998; March & Lee, 2016; Rhode & Krishnamurthi, 2016). The first step of this research is the
analysis of needs. 11 out of 30 universities participated in the research analyzed the training needs. In most
universities, the compulsory trainings about online teaching competency caused universities not to
perform any training needs analyses. U11, one of the universities which did not analyze the needs and kept
training compulsory, expressed the situation as “in the beginning of each term, the trainings mentioned
above are being given to all academicians who will teach online even if it is requested or not.” Even if the
training is compulsory, in order to upgr ade or develop the education content , a need assessment should be
carried out. Our findings indicate that the demand for tr aining in 21 universities came from the educators.
As a result, in the analysis step, the needs were expressed by educators rather than distance education
units. Although the instructors themselves demanded the training needs, it can be said that the training
needs should be determined by the institutions. Considering that not all educators demanded training, the
training needs of non-demanding educators would be ignored.
Almost all of the universities participated in the research (f=27, 80%) trained their educators to increase
their online teaching competencies. Most of the universities (f=26) provided trainings by their own units.
Twelve universities had these trainings obligatory for their educators. Eleven universities presented their
trainings via an asynchronous platform. In an online asynchronous environment, the educator can reach
learning mat er ials whenever they want.
The trainings were mostly performed face to face (f=21). However, educators w ho are students of
online environment gain experience and understand the needs of students in this environment in a better
way (Adnan, Kalelioğlu & Gülbahar, 2017; Benson & Ward, 2013; Karaman, Yıldırım, & Gülsoy, 2010). An
educator who does not take part in an online course as a student cannot be expected to understand what
kind of learning environment the students are exposed to (developing empathy). Hence, it would be useful
for the educators w ho w ill teach online to take online courses. This is why it is important for educators to
learn online teaching in an “online course”.
Most of the universities (f=23) in this study did not award a certificate upon completing the online
teaching competency training, but 4 institutions awarding certificates (e.g. Gülbahar & Karataş, 2016)
stated they used a certification program.
Twenty-three universities taught technological subjects in online teaching competency, 8 universities
trained pedagogical subjects and 4 universities trained both. In many of the universities, technological
subjects such as learning management systems and virtual classroom systems were trained. The statement
of ten universities about the deficiency of technological skills observed in the needs analysis can be shown
as a reason of training technological subjects more. Darabi et al. (2006) and Hogan et al. (2006) indicated
S e rkan İZMİRL İ & Ö mer KIRMACI
49
that the educators teaching online need to have both technological and pedagogical competencies.
Ther efor e, universities need to train on both subjects (March & Lee, 2016). Moreover, Bailey and Card
(2009) pointed out that university administrators should arrange not only technological training but also
pedagogical training. Furthermore, educators will have difficulty in integrating pedagogical applications
when new technological tools are introduced. Therefore, the content of in-service training activities needs
to be reviewed and upgraded, as w ell. Howerver, it w as found that only 2 out of 27 training institutions
evaluated and upgraded their training programs.
Even if the educators have sufficient technological knowledge and skills for online teaching, they may
lack pedagogical knowledge and skills. It is known that educators who are not experts in the education
field do not take professional teaching courses named as pedagogical formation. Therefore, educators
who do not work in the education field do not have the professional knowledge and skills to adapt to
online environments. Bawane and Spector (2009) assert that the key role of online educators is pedagogical.
Within this context, the trainings of online educator s should focus primarily on pedagogical knowledge.
When the courses’/educational activities’ contents aiming at providing online teaching competencies in
the distance education units were examined in detail,
it was seen that a great majority of these
courses/activities did not completely include the online teaching competencies. These courses/activities did
not include community of inquiry and the theory of andragogy. Having content such as community of
inquiry including social, cognitive and teaching presence (Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2000) will
increase the level of quality. Moreover, Boettcher (2011) indicated that the online educator should aim to
develop social, cognitive and teaching presence. Besides, t he theory of andragogy (Know les, 1980 was not
encountered in the contents of the training activities. All training programs must be based on the relevant
theory like andragogy (Meyer, 2013). As online learners are usually adults, it is useful to consider the
theory of andragogy that focuses on adult learning.
Further research can b e designed to reveal the training activities on teaching how to teach online in
other countries. Interviews can be held in order to gather more in-depth data. Considering the results of
this research, the higher education institutions as the leading practitioners of the open and distance
education were aw are of the importance of the educatorsonline teaching competencies, how ever, the
trainings provided were generally put a heavy emphasis on using technology. However, the content of
such trainings has to cover both technological and pedagogical dimensions. Based on the results of this
research, workshops can be organized to discuss and decide all aspects of training activities organized by
distance education units to increase their educators’ online teaching competencies.
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Appendix 1
Universities Participated in the Research
1. Abant İzzet Baysal University
2. Adıyaman University
3. Akdeniz University
4. Anadolu University
5. Ankara University
6. Atatürk University
7. Bartın Un iv ers ity
8. Bingöl University
9. Bülent Ecevit University
10. Cumhuriyet University
11. Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University
12. Dicle Univers ity
13. Erciyes University
Developing Online Teaching Competencies of Educators in Turkey
52
14. Eskiş ehir Osmangazi Univ ers ity
15. Fırat University
16. Gazi University
17. Gaziosmanpaşa University
18. Karadeniz Teknik University
19. Kırklareli University
20. Mersin Univers ity
21. Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University
22. Mustafa Kemal University
23. Namık Kemal University
24. Nevşehir Hacı Bektaş Veli University
25. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University
26. Sakarya University
27. Selçuk University
28. leyman Demirel Univers ity
29. Trakya University
30. Yıld ız Teknik University
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