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The purpose of this study is to find out how the participants taught using an innovative online instructional package. For this chapter, the researcher sought to find out whether the instructors used the online materials as supplementary to their classroom teaching, or as a core resource to teach a hybrid or online course. The study looked at the instructors’ teaching experience, their teaching contexts, and motivations for using the software to inform how they taught with it. The goal of gathering this information was to determine some common factors that influenced their choices in how they taught with Online Day, which will be explored as themes in the final chapter.

This chapter consists of descriptions of each of the nine participants and how they taught the graduate-level course, Theories of Psychotherapy and Counseling . Before looking at the individual accounts, the researcher offers a view of the characteristics of the group as a whole.

The nine instructors had adopted the Online Day textbook and resources to teach the theories course. They all had doctoral degrees. Eight taught at the graduate level, and one taught at the undergraduate level.

In the following chart, selected characteristics are displayed under the instructors’ names. These characteristics are their teaching experience, sex, counseling experience, state in which they teach, and whether the institution is supported by state or private funds.

Descriptive information on the participant’s teaching and counseling experience, age, sex, state, and type of institution where they taught.
Name Teaching Sex Counseling Region Institution
Laura 3 years female   Northeast private
Lyle 4 years male   Deep South state
Nancy 6 years female   Mid-Atlantic state
Ken 6 years male 30 years Northeast private
Carrie 10 years female   Midwest private
Miller 12 years female   Northeast state
Neal 12 years male 22 years Plains private
Ed 18 years male 39 years Southwest state
Mark 30 years male   Deep South state

Figure 5 indicates that five of the instructors were men, and four were women. Over half of the participants were very experienced, having taught for between 10 and 31 years. Three had worked as therapists in addition to their university teaching. There was a wide geographic spread, with no two instructors living in the same state.

The following section contains pedagogical biographies for each participant, including personal information and information about the context of their work. These accounts contain personal information that influenced how they taught, such as their mentors, their philosophy of teaching, their attitudes toward technology, and professional activities with which they were involved besides teaching. The contextual information concerned their technology training, their colleges, departments, supervisors and colleagues, and the format in which they taught the course.

This data was collected through interviews conducted over the telephone with each of the instructors individually at two different points during the semester. In qualitative research, it is standard practice to work from a list of common questions for each interview; however, responses to these open-ended questions are unique, and often lead to other cogent topics. One such instance of a topic generated within the conversation was the differences in university policies regarding the kind of orientation given to online students. The instructors’ personal accounts revealed information about their experience of teaching the same course in the same semester using the same textbook and online resources.

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Source:  OpenStax, Faculty use of courseware to teach counseling theories. OpenStax CNX. Oct 14, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11130/1.1
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