Main Nav

Bridges and Barriers to Teaching Online College Courses: A Study of Experienced Online Faculty in Thirty-Six Colleges

Sunday, July 1, 2007


This paper reports on initial findings from a research study of factors that enable and constrain faculty participation in online teaching and learning environments. It is noted that demand for higher education continues to grow in the United States. It is argued that the nature of the higher education student population will likely continue to transform towards a non-traditional profile. These two trends drive an increased demand for alternative routes to a college degree and have fueled dramatic growth in online learning recently. The study identifies faculty acceptance of online teaching as a critical component for future growth to meet this demand and ensure quality. Through analysis of data from 386 faculty teaching online in 36 colleges in a large state university system, the most significant factors that support and undermine motivation to teach online are identified. The top motivator is a more flexible work schedule. The top demotivator is inadequate compensation for perceived greater work than for traditionally delivered courses, especially for online course development, revision, and teaching. However, respondents in this study chose to teach online for a wide variety of reasons many of which were associated with demographic and contextual differences. These distinctions are reviewed in light of their implications for future quality of online education. Additionally, through factor analysis, underlying constructs for online faculty motivations are identified. Finally, recommendations are made for policy, practice, faculty development and future research.

Download This Resource


Annual Conference
September 29–October 2
Register Now!

Events for all Levels and Interests

Whether you're looking for a conference to attend face-to-face to connect with peers, or for an online event for team professional development, see what's upcoming.


Digital Badges
Member recognition effort
Earn yours >

Career Center

Leadership and Management Programs

EDUCAUSE Institute
Project Management



Jump Start Your Career Growth

Explore EDUCAUSE professional development opportunities that match your career aspirations and desired level of time investment through our interactive online guide.


EDUCAUSE organizes its efforts around three IT Focus Areas



Join These Programs If Your Focus Is


Get on the Higher Ed IT Map

Employees of EDUCAUSE member institutions and organizations are invited to create individual profiles.



2014 Strategic Priorities

  • Building the Profession
  • IT as a Game Changer
  • Foundations

Learn More >

Uncommon Thinking for the Common Good™

EDUCAUSE is the foremost community of higher education IT leaders and professionals.