Ramlo, Susan (in press). The coronavirus and higher education: Faculty viewpoints about universities moving online during a worldwide pandemic. Innovative Higher Education. (doi: ) (Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10755-020-09532-8)

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine faculty’s views about the move from face-to-face (F2F) instruction to online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The researcher used Q methodology [Q], a mixed method, to determine and describe faculty views about this situation. The participants sorted 36 statements to reveal and describe their subjective viewpoints. In Q, similar sorts are grouped together mathematically into factors, each representing a unique viewpoint. The Q-sorting process is reflective and self-referent. The operation of sorting items allows participants to provide their internal viewpoint. This is different from responding to a Likert-type survey. Additionally, the analyses allow for differentiation of views rather than an aggregate of views. Each unique viewpoint is described by a representative sort, distinguishing statements, and participants’ post-sort responses. Three views emerged: Techies who like to teach (the view most positive in relation to teaching online); Overwhelmed as human beings (populated by caregivers); and It’s about what cannot be done online (those who are focused on the limitations of technology and abilities for online instruction). Generally, faculty felt frustrated with their ability to best support their students within the online format. Administrators should consider the results of this study to better understand the instructional and mental-health needs of faculty especially in an emergency situation, such as COVID-19. The findings indicate that creating the best learning situations for students is not one-size-fits-all and that there are discipline and pedagogical issues to consider when moving F2F courses online that are not fixed simply with technology.

Susan E Ramlo <sramlo@gmail.com> is an independent researcher in Northeast Ohio, USA.

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