December 9, 2009


NACC Instructor Presents at AECT Fall Conference

Northeast Alabama Community College Computer Science Instructor Dr. Robert Davis presented his study, “Faculty Training for Online Teachers in Alabama’s Rural Community College: A Case Study” at the 2009 Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) convention in Louisville, Kentucky recently. He presented the study under the Training and Performance Division of AECT.

As a seasoned online instructor at NACC, a student taking online classes, and a former 16-year employee of the Federal Government (12 years as a GS-12 Army Auditor with US Army Audit Agency and 4 years as a GS-13 program Analyst with the JLENS Project Office), Davis utilized the Internet to prepare and submit numerous high visibility reports to Congressional Leaders as well as having completed multiple training classes through the use of online courses. He faced countless challenges to his personal and professional development. Because Davis has been an employee of the Federal Government who used the Internet to complete job duties and professional development training, an instructor in Academia who utilizes the Internet to conduct online courses, and a student who participated in online courses to further his education, he understands and empathizes with novice instructors and students regarding the frustrations and concerns they have in their first online classrooms

“Learning to navigate content, standards, and classroom management, while simultaneously developing an instructor persona is challenging for beginning instructors,” said Davis. He continues to seek improvements in his instruction and in student achievement. “I have come to realize, first hand, that diversity issues play an important part as instructors experiment with multicultural issues in the online environment in addition to examining the different learning perspectives of students.”

“As an instructor, I could easily take a stance toward current and anticipated demands on the educational system however, at the same time, I understand why online courses have met so much resistance and training has been underachieved,” he continued.

Online education is providing community colleges opportunities to reach students through the use of technological advances. These technological advances have allowed faculty to develop new teaching skills and transfer these skills into pedagogical practices in an online environment.

The results of Davis’ study show community colleges the need for professional development training, spurring of innovations in faculty training for online teaching, and encourages further research in the area of training for online teaching and learning.

“Dr. Davis has focused on a very useful and relevant topic,” stated Dr. David Campbell, NACC President. “Training and professional development for Instructors and all educational personnel is extremely important to get the most from online education. We are fortunate at Northeast in that we have just obtained a $1.2 million Title III federal grant to provide this very type of professional development in educational technology to Northeast personnel.”

Davis is a graduate of the Sustaining Base Leadership and Management Program, Army Management Staff College. He has a BS Degree from Athens State University, an MS Degree from Florida Institute of Technology, and a PhD in Instructional Technology from The University of Alabama. Recently, he has been invited by Dr. Freida H. Hill, Chancellor of the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education, to serve on a statewide committee to recommend policies and guidelines regarding distance education.

For further information about the study and presentation, contact Davis at phone ext. 319 or by e-mail at