Tag Archives: Student Success

Adjunct versus full-time faculty: Comparison of student outcomes in the online classroom

Mueller, B., Mandernach, B. J., & Sanderson, K. (2013). Adjunct versus full-time faculty: Comparison of student outcomes in the online classroom. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9(3) Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol9no3/mueller_0913.htm

This study conducted at Grand Canyon University looks at the belief that adjuncts are less effective teachers than the traditional full-time faculty member.  The unique component of this research is that the study looks at one online course that has standardized content, activities, and assessment.  The components that can be personalized by the instructors are inclusion of supplemental course content; interaction with students; and nature of feedback.  For this one institution and this one class they did discover that students tended to successfully complete the course; were less likely to withdraw from the course; and had a higher mean average course grade in their next course; and a higher rate of both continued enrollment and end-of-course satisfaction.  The authors go on to discuss some of the issues that might contribute to these results.  These include a lack of access to training/professional development; lack of a community of practice; and lack of access to resources such as administrative and technical support. Recommendations include: fostering an integrated faculty body; targeted faculty development programming; better communication; and examining existing policies in the light of increased adjunct faculty usage by institutions.