This webtext reports on an exploratory survey of college faculty teaching online during the 2020-21 academic year called "Online Teaching and the 'New Normal': A Survey of Faculty Approaches to Synchronous and Asynchronous Courses in American Higher Education." From the time I quickly assembled and distributed this survey in Fall 2020 to Spring 2022, I have frequently felt like I was in a situation similar to the one Robert Connors and Andrea Lunsford described in the opening of their 1988 College Composition and Communication essay "Frequency of Formal Errors in Current College Writing, or Ma and Pa Kettle Do Research."

Portrayed by Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride in a series of movies in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Ma and Pa Kettle were well-meaning country bumpkins who constantly found themselves in comicly ridiculous situations filled with slapstick and sight gags, similar in style to the comedy duos of Abbott and Costello or Laurel and Hardy. For example, one of the more memorable goofy mishaps in the movie Ma and Pa Kettle Go to Town involves Pa spilling a box of popcorn into a bowl of pancake batter being prepared by Ma. Unaware of the accident, Ma begins cooking the pancakes. A few minutes later, the popcorn begins to pop, causing the pancakes to jump off the griddle. Ma Kettle is surprised and confused, but she goes back to do her best to finish cooking the breakfast. As Connors and Lunsford wrote in their essay, they "started somewhere along the line to feel less and less like the white-coated Researchers of [their] dreams and more and more like characters [Connors and Lunsford] called Ma and Pa Kettle—good hearted bumblers striving to understand a world whose complexity was more than a little daunting" (p. 395).

Perhaps admitting this in the opening paragraph of this webtext is not the most savvy way for me to establish my credibility, but it's an honest beginning. And, like Connors and Lunsford's work, I think my far from perfect study has revealed some interesting results about the experiences of faculty teaching during the global Covid Pandemic.

This website consists of the following sections: