Category Archives: Distance Learning

2009 AERA Outstanding Research Publication Award

Dr. Kathleen King (AAACE and CPAE member) and Dr. Joan Griggs, editors of the collected volume, Harnessing Innovative Technology in Higher Education.The award was presented at the American Education Research Association Division I meeting on Tuesday, April 14, 2009 in San Diego. Kathleen King was there to accept the award.

The book is a collaborative and coordinated collection of analyses of a number of the FIPSE projects. (FIPSE is the Fund for Improvement of PostSecondary Education, a granting arm of the US Department of Education.) Each FIPSE grant project had been designed to create and implement creative new programs to further the possibilities of technology in higher education.

Description of the book:
Harnessing Innovative Technology in Higher Education:

Access, Equity, Policy, and Instruction edited by Kathleen P. King and Joan K. Griggs. Technology insinuated itself into higher education swiftly and permanently. Suddenly, the potential uses for the new technology seemed endless. Academic institutions responded quickly—each trying to meet individual needs and creating varied uses. However, as the trend matured, institutions found that they were each reinventing systems that someone had already created and the cost of working this way was high.

In response to these factors, the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) created a visionary grant program which encouraged creativity and collaboration. The funded projects were innovative and have had a tremendous impact on the distance learning. This book reports on some of those programs, along with an analysis and synthesis of what worked and why. It is unique in addressing some of the more critical and difficult areas that need to be addressed in institutional efforts for distance learning. The broad base of initiatives, content areas, organizations and purposes of these projects provides a plethora of recommendations and ideas for every professor, administrator and faculty developer.

Please visit the Atwood Publishing site to learn more about the book

Dr. Kathy King is a professor of education at Fordham University and may be reached at

Research circa 2002

Research Activity

As it has developed over the years, my research has three different focuses within the field of adult education: transformational learning theory, faculty development and educational technology. At different times, these areas are variously interwoven and create exciting connections for exploration and further study.

Transformational Learning
My research in transformational learning has grown out of my original doctoral research and is being continued among several different groups of adult learners: ESL college students, teachers-in-training, incarcerated women and teachers learning technology. The instrument that I developed and published has been adapted for these adult learners in each of their specific topic areas. My research is evolving from the examination of learning activities to a deeper probing of the transformational learning experience itself. It is in this direction that I see my future research continuing to move.

Professional Development
My research and writing in the area of faculty development has its roots in my many experiences conducting faculty in-services and teacher education for several educational institutions. In 2000, my co-author and I published the book, The Adult Learning Model of Faculty Development regarding higher education faculty development. At this time we are also developing an extended international research project to further study higher education professional development.

Educational Technology
My own, individual work in the area of technology has increasingly overlapped all three areas of my research. Many of my experiences in faculty development are in the area of technology use and its place in the curriculum. Additionally, as I have been involved in teacher education here at Fordham, I have been examining the transformational learning teachers and teachers-in-training experience as they learn technology application to educational practice. While I have been publishing articles and presenting papers on faculty and their needs as adult learners as they learn educational technology, I have written two books, one now in press, that focus on the opportunities educational technology professional development has for K-12 teachers and higher education faculty.

In another application of these three areas of interest, I have been researching adult learning in online professional development. This research is being conducted collaboratively with three other partners and is funded by a $1.4 million Learning Anytime Anywhere Partnership grant award from the Fund for Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE). At this point we have evaluation data from the pilot online course offerings that were taken by 300 learners and are continuing to analyze these data. We have been accepted to present papers at the AERA 2002 conference regarding this online professional development program and research. Personally, I led related research projects in study of “hybrid” (face-to-face and online) model classes. The results have been centrally significant to the whole project and we are using the findings to formatively evaluate our primary online learning model and to begin to use this valuable design as an alternative model.

Future Research
My future research will continue to be in the areas of faculty development, perspective transformation, and distance education/educational technology. I have seen how these areas continue to provide new opportunities to study adult learners in many contexts and look forward to the future. This research is being done individually and through partnerships and collaborations that are both synergistic and rewarding.

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Dr. Kathy King. Last modified: 1/25/02
©1997-2002 Fordham University. All rights reserved.

Transforming Education, Educators and Students With Technology

Article published in Inside Fordham 9/1//2006

By Peter Catapano

“Theory is wonderful, but if it remains by itself it becomes stale. It gathers its lifeblood in research and practice.” — Kathleen King

If back in the day, say 1995, you were unreasonably distraught when you were forced to trade your Smith Corona for Microsoft Word, or maybe pulled your hair out trying to figure out how to use e-mail, you probably could have used the advice and support of Kathleen P. King, Ed.D., professor of education at Fordham University.

Dr. Kathy King
Dr. Kathy King

As former director of the University’s Regional Educational Technology Center for Professional Development (RETC), and recent director of the Graduate School of Education’s program of Adult Education and Human Resource Development, King has made it her mission to help educators cope with rapid change, technological and otherwise. Her core work, founded in the principles of a theory called “transformative learning,” of which she is a major proponent, seeks to turn challenges—or “disorienting dilemmas”—into opportunities for both learning and personal growth. Transformative learning, as King puts it, “describes how people react when they come across difficult points in their life, how they cope and what they learn from it.”

And, as she is quick to emphasize, “Teachers are learners, too.”

King’s approach to adult education takes in several disciplines, most notably technology. She is a techie by nature, well versed in computing and at ease with the general onslaught of technological innovations that have changed the way we live and work in the past 15 years. The resources available at RETC reflect that: podcasts for teachers, computing testing and certification, online education, and a host of other resources devoted to helping teachers and other adults to innovate, teach, and learn. It is a source of knowledge she believes educators sorely need.

As an educator, King said, “technology will throw you into these conflicts,” posing challenges, and sometimes crises. “In the ‘70s,” she says, learning about new technologies was, “a nice thing to do. Today, it’s survival.”

King has a book out this year, Harnessing Innovative Technology in Higher Education: Access, Equity, Policy, and Instruction (Atwood, 2006), edited with Joan K. Griggs. In its conclusion, written with Susan Biro, Ed.D., associate director of RETC, King says, “In the process, we learn that the pathway [to integrating technology into higher education] is not linear, and that as we are learning about technology along the way, we are also learning about our learners, our organizations, and ourselves.” An insight that might have been gleaned from King’s own non-linear career.

There is a spiritual component to King’s work. Before she began her academic life in the early 1990s, King served as a nondenominational missionary in New England. In her research, she is keen to draw lessons from the religious and ethical traditions of many cultures. A recent article she authored looks at transformative learning from the viewpoint of Confucianism.

Her record of accomplishment since she came to Fordham in 1997 is sort of disorienting itself: she has secured, and now oversees, more than 20 grants, several million dollars worth, for the University; she has received several awards for her work in the field; she has authored dozen of articles for journals; and edited, contributed or authored dozens of books, many on technology and learning. Her latest, written with Victor Wang, Ed.D., California State University, Long Beach, Comparative Adult Education Around the Globe, includes observations of educators from Asia and the Middle East, and will be published in both Germany and China in a few weeks.

The idea of transformative learning, she said, “has been dominated by Western interpretation. We need to open it up to our colleagues around the world.”

King—who has a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, a master’s in theology, and a master’s and doctorate in education—sees adult education as a perfect fit for someone like herself, naturally drawn to and inspired by a number of different ideas and disciplines. “The theme running through all these interests,” she said, “is how adults learn and change their lives.”

She also believes she ended up at the right university to undertake this work. “Fordham is a very good fit for me. They value theory and research, but also put great value on people and practice.”

Though King’s unconventional ideas have often forced her to take a radical stand with her colleagues, she remains committed to the idea of helping others learn and change for the better.

“I am not to here to promote my political view,” King said. “We are trying to provide a platform where people can step forward into their voice. Transformative learning is about opening up opportunities.”