Faculty Perceptions Of Cooperative Learning 
And Traditional Discussion Strategies In Online Courses

Marie-Anne MUNDY

Due to the recent developments in technology, distance learning and education questions regarding the best teaching methods for the virtual classroom have emerged. Thus, it becomes increasingly necessary to examine how these methods translate into the virtual classroom. This qualitative case study examined how instructors of online courses perceived the effectiveness of proven traditional teaching methods as well as cooperative learning strategies in the virtual classroom. The five selected faculty members, all of whom held terminal degrees, were selected through purposeful, convenient sampling as well as snowball sampling, or chain sampling. Findings revealed that although all five informants had been working in online learning contexts with their students for two years and more, two of the informants still had not adapted in their own understanding about how to maximize the online learning context and were unable to apply their understanding of traditional instruction to the context of online learning. The two informants who were younger and less experienced than others had adapted well in implementing cooperative learning to maximize online learning. Finally, one informant was able to take her instruction to a more complex level and became the facilitator of learning through employing extensive use of student facilitators.

KEYWORDS: Cooperative Learning, Online Learning, Discussion Board, Case Study, Learning Context.