Episode PA027: What Has Changed and What to Expect for Online Teaching

by Jim and Beth Harger | The Professional Adjunct Podcast

In this insightful interview, Dr. Kristen Jensen Wall shares her perspective on the transitions and driving forces for online education. Benefit from her nine years of experience as she talks about flawed assumptions and the biggest challenges for faculty members moving to the online environment.

“Five years ago, I would have said ‘you can’t do that.’ Well, we’re doing it!”

Teaching students how to interact online and the different expectations of them is another important element. As Dr. Wall stated, “Knowledge can be learned and forgotten pretty quickly; the skillset is more likely to stick.” We create scenarios for students to develop the skillset so if there are gaps in their knowledge, we have

equipped them to go fill in the gaps.

“We’re looking for lifelong learners to teach lifelong learners.”

In response to that, Jim makes the astute observation that the adjunct instructor who teaches one class a semester is no less a professional educator than someone who teaches multiple classes at multiple institutions. Every adjunct instructor needs to consider themselves a professional adjunct and look for opportunities to improve their skills as an educator.

Ongoing professional development is an important part of being an educator. Dr. Wall gives us a brief overview of CCU’s Highly Qualified Faculty program at. As part of this conversation, she discusses what their administration is looking for when hiring faculty members and the key struggles new instructors experience.

“If a faculty member walking in the door is teachable and has that heart to engage the students, that really goes a long way.”

Dr. Kristen Jensen Wall is the Director of Faculty Development at Colorado Christian University, a private Christian university in Lakewood, Colorado.  Her role includes providing professional development for approximately 600 adjunct faculty as well as scheduling courses and contracting faculty for almost 1700 classes per year.  She received her B.A. in Secondary Education from Concordia University—Portland (Oregon), an M.A. in Adult Education from Regis University in Denver, Colorado, and an Ed.D. in Adult and Postsecondary Education from the University of Wyoming.  She also teaches graduate education and undergraduate college orientation courses.  Her research interests include: student perceptions of faculty feedback, developing adult student writing skills, and teaching adults online.

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