Wednesday 13 November 2013

Paper Review: The making of an exemplary online educator

Edwards, M., Perry, B., & Janzen, K. (2011). The making of an exemplary online educator. Distance Education, 32(1), 101–118.  

This paper reports a descriptive qualitative research study of students' perspectives regarding qualities of exceptional online educators. Twenty three participants in this study provided their descriptive response.They described interactions they had with online teachers they considered exemplary. Modified narrative analysis was used for data analysis. The major themes identified in the study are exemplary online educators as challengers, affirmers and influencers. This paper also compares findings on excellence in online teaching with findings from an earlier study focused on exemplary face-to-face educators. Findings reveal that many strategies used by exemplary educators who teach face to face can be transposed to online teaching environment with similar positive results.

This paper makes use of modified narrative analysis to identify what makes an online educator exemplary. Then it compares its results with results of similar study done for classroom educators. It is not very clear whether such comparison could be valid. Nevertheless the identification of qualities of exemplary online educators is an important contribution that this paper makes.  

Given that online courses are challenged with respect to connect between faculty and students, one would expect that it takes something more on part of online educator to be an exemplary. It seems more investigation would be needed in this area.