Abstract: Distance education is expanding rapidly in higher education, with nearly all colleges and universities offering at least some courses in a distance education format. Still, teaching distance education courses is not a common expectation for faculty at hiring. The lack of faculty skilled in distance education makes it difficult for institutions to meet the growing demand for distance education courses. Faculty also experience confusion and stress about expectations for distance education instruction. To provide clarity for all parties, some institutions now include distance education specific terms in their collective bargaining agreements. 

A review of the literature sought to examine the place of distance education in the collective bargaining agreements of community college faculty. The literature suggested that distance education, though it has been a part of higher education for over a century, is still thought of as new. The research on distance education is still developing, and colleges are still in the early stages of determining how to manage distance education activities on campus. This is particularly true in the area of collective bargaining agreements and distance education. 

The purpose of this study was to identify and analyze the distance education terms typically found in community college faculty collective bargaining agreements. A total of 130 collective bargaining agreements were coded and analyzed using the qualitative descriptive method and 31 categories of distance education terms emerged from the data. Term categories included compensation for teaching distance education courses, intellectual property rights, definitions of distance education, and faculty load. The terms revealed the interests and priorities of faculty and administrators with regards to distance education. 

The categories were further organized using a distance education policy framework. This framework gives additional context to institutions seeking to improve clarity in distance education policies. 

The data presented in this study are a valuable tool for community colleges striving to more formally institutionalize distance education. It provides context for policy development and for negotiation. Additionally, it provides a baseline for additional research.

For details on the categories and sample contract language, visit the Terms Pages

This dissertation was written under the supervision of Dr. Donald F. Uerling in partial satisfaction of a Doctor of Philosophy degree at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, with a major in Educational Administration/Educational Leadership in Higher Education, Administration, Curriculum and Instruction. Stephanie successfully defended her dissertation in July, 2009 and was awarded her PhD in August 2009

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Literature Review

Chapter 3: Method

Chapter 4: Results

Chapter 5: Summary and Conclusions

Creative Commons License
Distance Education Terms in Faculty Contracts by Stephanie Delaney, JD is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Stephanie Delaney,
Jun 8, 2010, 9:25 AM