Implementing a Flexible Delivery Model at a Large Canadian Polytechnic During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Examining the Faculty Perspective
Derksen, Shannon J
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The COVID-19 pandemic may irreversibly leave its mark on education around the globe. As Canada’s post-secondary institutions pivoted to online learning in March of 2020, faculty and administrators struggled to meet the needs of a new reality. The speed at which schools moved to remote learning was unprecedented (Hodges et al., 2020). Faculty adapted their lessons, administrators adapted their policies, and support staff compiled and created resources. Red River College of Applied Arts and Sciences in Winnipeg, Manitoba, was just one institution that struggled to adhere to the ever-changing realities of the health orders the Province of Manitoba implemented. How did we do? This research seeks to analyze instructor feedback, from their perspective, on how they viewed the rollout of the flexible online delivery model and the supports and resources provided to faculty. Pragmatism guided the philosophical approach of this study, which examined the individual perceptions of faculty as they navigated the move to online and blended learning. The CIPP framework (Stufflebeam, 1971) provided the steps and guidance of the evaluation process. The data collection included 1) an online survey which was offered to all faculty, and 2) one-on-one interviews with volunteer participants. Key themes were analyzed, coded, and then compared between the two instruments. The findings suggest that, while the work of administration and support staff was appreciated by faculty, room remains for improvement to staff resources and the continuation of quality professional development. Central to that, the flexible online delivery model should be adapted and simplified. In addition, the resources to support it should be focused, streamlined, and reorganized to improve accessibility. Finally, RRC may consider re-examining its crisis management and emergency management policies. While policies exist for sudden and short-term natural disasters, they were not prepared for an extended disruption of services. If Red River College embedded mentorships and support networks into their future crisis plans, this would facilitate the formal reconnection of managers, faculty, and staff to provide a safety net for wellness and professional development. Participants indicated that the pacing of resource offerings to faculty was intense and overwhelming due to a lack of cohesive leadership and oversight. Addressing this issue in iv RRC’s crises policies could clarify how the administration would, in the future, communicate instructions and designate who would oversee resource development and ensure accountability.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
CommitteeMorrison, Dirk; Wilson, Jay; MacDowel, Paula; Okoko, Janet
Copyright DateJune 2022