Entrance level challenges of ODL faculty members

Rahila Hanif, Aisha Ismail and Sadaf Chouhdary
Virtual University of Pakistan

Lahore, Pakistan

Education systems are considered to be an important pillar of any society, and in these systems teachers are the ones who are directly involved in the delivery of education. ODL institutions operate differently from traditional ones as the students are not under the direct supervision of teachers; and ODL staff require specific skills to perform their roles efficiently. On their entry to ODL institutions as faculty members, they possess some skill sets based on their previous experience and this prior learning may be helpful or create hindrances.

This study focuses on identifying the challenges faced by faculty staff at the time they join an ODL institution through semi-structured interviews. Data were collected from faculty members in distance learning institutions in Pakistan through interviews which examined their prior experience in terms of those who (a) had worked in education (traditional/ODL); (b) had no teaching experience; or (c) had no previous work experience. The identification of the demands they face is valuable for developing effective training programmes. If the programmes are of a high quality, this makes the entrance of new staff smooth and enhances their performance. Such well-crafted training programmes play a significant role in staff development, for which this study suggests major guidelines for ODL to implement.