Social Media Professional Development: Options for Community College Developmental Education Adjunct Instructors
MetadataShow full metadata
Effective professional development for course instructors in higher education has long been a point of interest in terms of how not only ongoing training can benefit instructors but also how those benefits could possibly improve student experiences and learning outcomes. This qualitative case study specifically examines a population of teachers who have taught developmental writing courses as adjunct instructors at Texas community colleges. Using data from an anonymous online demographics survey, confidential online interviews, and an online forum, this study attempted to gauge the professional development needs of said population as well as their perceptions of and propensity to engage in self-directed, social media based professional enrichment activities as a means of staying current with the field of developmental education. While participant data was mixed in terms of their enthusiasm or lack thereof with the notion of community of practice and group-based learning—including social media as an avenue for professional development—the findings of the data corroborate with current literature about professional development needs for teachers in the field of developmental education, including such topics as understanding students' non-cognitive needs, learning applicable pedagogy, and staying abreast of technology. The findings of this study suggest implications for administrators and policy makers that include increased funding as well as concise professional development needs assessments at state, district, institution, and instructor levels; the provision of flexible professional development delivery options for practitioners of developmental education; and the provision of applicable relevant content that is specific to helping meet the academic and non-cognitive needs of students placed into developmental education.