Typology of teacher perception toward distance education issues: A study of college information department teachers in Taiwan

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Tao, Y.
Yeh, C.R.

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The popularity of distance education has grown rapidly over the last decade in Taiwan’s higher education, yet manyfundamental teaching–learning issues are still in debate. While teacher–student interaction is a key success factor in distance education, little work has been done on the teachers. The intent of this research was to clarify teacher’s perceptions on key distance education issues and to develop a discernible typology of different groups of teachers based on their perceptions. Because there may be a gulf between teachers and the technology used in distance education, the target of this study was teachers in information related departments in Taiwan’s colleges, who were more familiar with current technology. Factor analysis and cluster analysis were used to derive the typology. Five higher-level issue constructs emerged from the factor analysis: learning effect, customization, administrative challenges, geographic and resource integration, and instructional design challenges. Four groups of teachers, namely the skeptics, the optimists, the mild-promising group,and the outlier, were identified using cluster analysis of teachers’ perceptions on these five higher-level issue constructs. The profiles of the four groups of teachers were summarized and implications were discussed, which should provide useful insights to the policy makers of higher education on distance education decisions.