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School of Education's Peter Shea Wins Sloan Foundation Grant to Study Online Teaching

Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (December 27, 2005) -- The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has awarded $45,000 to Peter Shea, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Theory and Practice in the University at Albany's School of Education, to pilot a study to identify what motivates college faculty to instruct online.

According to Shea, most online college courses today, including those in SUNY's Learning Network, allow course takers to access the materials at their convenience rather than at a set time -- professor and students are not all on line at the same time. The networks are called asynchronous learning networks or ALNs, and some researchers estimate that 100,000 university faculty now teach one or more ALN courses, with more joining their ranks each year. The research project, called "What I Like about Teaching," seeks to understand the reasons why faculty accept or shun online teaching to create a framework for examining the issues at a national level.

Susan D. Phillips, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education, said, "This is a significant award to a junior faculty member from a very prestigious foundation. Sloan is known for its involvement with its grant recipients and for its support of cutting edge research. Congratulations to Dr. Shea and his collaborators at the New Jersey Institute of Technology."

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a philanthropic nonprofit institution, was established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then president and chief executive officer of General Motors Corporation. The Sloan Foundation awards were established in 1955 as a means of encouraging research by young scholars at a critical time in their careers when other support is difficult to obtain. More information on the Sloan Foundation is found at


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