Many higher education institutions are anticipating the use of online learning (New Media Consortium, 2007). As institutional administration engages faculty to both develop and sustain online learning opportunities, the perceived barriers for faculty must be addressed. Those barriers included (A) faculty compensation and time, (B) organizational change, and (C) technical expertise, support and infrastructure (Berge & Muilenburg, 2001; Muilenburg & Berge, 2001; Porter, 2003). This study engaged ten faculty and two administrators from two institutions of a southeastern university system in qualitative inquiry to discover: "What are faculty perceptions of institutional efforts at addressing barriers to faculty's success in delivering online learning?"
The results of the research indicated these two institutions were addressing faculty barriers well but have opportunities for improvement. Faculty were generally pleased with the institutional support in the area of compensation and time. Intellectual property issues were not a concern, but faculty would benefit from having additional course development time. The emerging theme was that while compensation and release time for development and teaching of online courses were both favorably viewed they were not major motivators.
In the organizational change area, departmental support was mixed but most faculty felt supported by departmental leadership. Six interviewees said their online teaching was appreciated. Seven saw curriculum or course changes resulting from teaching online and viewed those changes as positive. Nine interviewees spoke about the need for communication concerning online learning's place within the strategic directions of the institution.
In the area of technical expertise, support and infrastructure, all highly praised the training and support personnel. These veteran faculty suggested greater support for pedagogy efforts and recommended an increase in staffing levels.
Two recommendations for practice emerged from the study. Institutions need effective communications concerning online learning directions and should collaboratively engage faculty in a transparent process concerning institutional directions for online learning. Secondly, institutions should consider expanding their online support efforts to include greater pedagogical support. Faculty also wanted an expansion of course development resources to share in the course development workload.
A recommendation for further study focuses on intrinsic motivational factors for faculty to teach online. Research is needed to discover affective motivational factors for faculty such as student needs, acceptance by peers, achieving challenging goals, risk-taking and other internal, affective motivations.