Faculty Satisfaction

FACULTY SATISFACTION means that instructors find the online teaching experience personally rewarding and professionally beneficial. Personal factors contributing to faculty satisfaction with the online experience include opportunities to extend interactive learning communities to new populations of students and to conduct and publish research related to online teaching and learning. Institutional factors related to faculty satisfaction include three categories: support, rewards, and institutional study/research. Faculty satisfaction is enhanced when the institution supports faculty members with a robust and well-maintained technical infrastructure, training in online instructional skills, and ongoing technical and administrative assistance. Faculty members also expect to be included in the governance and quality assurance of online programs, especially as these relate to curricular decisions and development of policies of particular importance to the online environment (such as intellectual property, copyright, royalties, collaborative design and delivery). Faculty satisfaction is closely related to an institutional reward system that recognizes the rigor and value of online teaching. Satisfaction increases when workload assignments/assessments reflect the greater time commitment in developing and teaching online courses and when online teaching is valued on par with face-to-face teaching in promotion and tenure decisions. A final institutional factor-crucial to recruiting, retaining, and expanding a dedicated online faculty-is commitment to ongoing study of and enhancement of the online faculty experience.

Effective Practice Awards Submissions Due June 30

Submitted by janetmoore on May 27, 2010 - 2:06pm
New effective practices  submitted by June 30 are eligible for awards to be presented at the July 21, 2010 Emerging Technologies for Online Learning Symposium Awards Presentation Luncheon.
Thousands visit effective practices for innovative practices supported by eviden
Award Winner: 
2014 Sloan-C Effective Practice Award
Author Information
Author(s): 
Angela Gibson
Author(s): 
Priscilla Coulter
Author(s): 
Susan Satory
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
American Public University System
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

Summary
With the goals to increase student connection to the online library, to develop academic research skills, and to foster student success in a first-year online course, a collaborative program between librarians and faculty was created and yielded positive results including student growth in information literacy skills, reduction in student anxiety in navigation and utilization of the online library, and high level of student academic success.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

Bringing the Library to Life: Live Librarian Instruction in a First-Year Online Course

Summary
With the goals to increase student connection to the online library, to develop academic research skills, and to foster student success in a first-year online course, a collaborative program between librarians and faculty was created and yielded positive results including student growth in information literacy skills, reduction in student anxiety in navigation and utilization of the online library, and high level of student academic success.

Background
Just under a third of all college students leave the institution after the first-year (ACT, 2012; Barefoot, 2000, 2005; Kinzie, 2014, Kuh, 2008) and 47% of college students fail to matriculate at the original four-year institution, 56% dropping before the start of the second-year (Tinto, 1987, 1993). Meanwhile, online higher education continues to grow at a rapid rate; over 7.1 million students took at least one online course in the fall of 2013, an increase of 400,000 students from 2012 (Allen and Seaman 2014). Positive interactions with university faculty and staff are critical to student engagement, learning, and persistence. Information literacy is a crucial component to higher education, but first-year students are typically unaware of their own substandard academic research skills (Gustavson & Nall 2011). Offering a diversity of library interventions can help these students gain the skills they need to succeed (Latham & Gross 2013). Librarians and library services can play an important, lasting role in promoting student confidence, connectedness and academic success (Regalado 2003, Zhong & Alexander 2007).

APUS is a fully online institution both regionally and nationally accredited serving over 90% adult learners and over 50% military learners. College 100: Foundations of Online Learning students are those new to American Public University System. Students encounter lessons, assessments, and discussions that require information literacy skills; that is the ability to identify, search for and evaluate appropriate sources of information for college-level assignments. However, students frequently contact faculty, librarians, and technical staff with questions and sometimes declarations of frustration or anxiety about navigating the library indicating a need for basic library orientation and research skills training. Students' apparent lack of familiarity with the Online Library, undeveloped information literacy skills, and varying learning preferences may impede successful achievement of course objectives.

Innovation
An initial pilot was developed in spring of 2013 with five sections, two taught by one faculty and three taught by another, to offer synchronous sessions with students hosted by an APUS Online Librarian during designated times within the eight weeks of the course. Though not integrated into specific assignments for the initial pilot, students participating in sessions received additional credit. From student feedback recorded through an open discussion forum with the instructor, it was determined that those students taking advantage of the Adobe Connect sessions stated they were more familiar with the library, that they were more confident in their navigation and research skills, and that they believed the information assisted them in related assignments. The two faculty of the small pilot concurred with student statements and recommended expansion of the initiative.

Stemming from the smaller project early in 2013, a pilot was developed offering synchronous office hours with APUS Online Librarians for 28 selected COLL100 classes with October semester starts. Five Librarians volunteered time to schedule regular sessions. The lead Librarian for the project, and co-coordinator of the initiative, developed a short five-stop video tour of the APUS Online Library focusing on orientation and navigation skills as well as areas deemed critical to first-year student success and development of basic information literacy skills such as databases, eBooks, journals and articles, and working with the deep web. A pre and post-session quiz was created to assess student attitudes and knowledge acquisition from the Live Library sessions. Again, results from the expanded pilot indicated student skill development, higher levels of confidence, and better rates of success in library and research associated assignments for those participating in the sessions.

The innovation was initiated again in April of 2014 expanding in sections to verify results. Thirty five sections, and nineteen faculty, of the April College 100 semester participated in the project. Between Week 2 and Week 8 there were 19 two hour Live Library sessions held live via Adobe Connect with Librarians providing a demonstration of the main features of the APUS Online Library. Sessions were offered on weekdays and weekends as well as day and evening times. These demonstrations included an overview of components necessary for student navigation and use of the Library for College 100 assignments as well as key elements necessary for success in future courses. Students were able to interact in real time with Librarians through audio or via text chat in the room.

The APUS Librarians from the previous 2013 pilot all volunteered once again to facilitate sessions and work with student. Those unable to attend live sessions made individual appointments with Librarians and/or utilized a Library Tour video and worked directly with the faculty for the section. Beyond a very few technical issues with connections there was overwhelming positive feedback from students and faculty. Students described how anxiety levels on research and the Library were drastically reduced after the sessions, how they learned how to use tools key to success in classes, and how they could now easily navigate with confidence and know where to go when they needed extra assistance. The faculty who attended commented how they learned something new by attending sessions!

In addition to tracking attendance at live sessions, survey and qualitative data provided by students, Librarians, and faculty were gathered from the initiative. Such data provided insight into themes, points of confusion, and engagement in the initiative and learning. Student attitudes, knowledge, and skills were surveyed with a pre and post session assessment. Themes were noted by Librarians during session and in follow-up with students. From within the classroom faculty monitored impressions. Instructors used an open forum to discuss the Library sessions and gather feedback asking students what they learned, how will they apply new knowledge and skills, and thoughts on further exploration. Assignments connected to the Library were analyzed to assess any increase in the submissions and quality of grades as compared to COLL100 classes not involved in the pilot.

Students integrated the learning from the Live Library sessions into assignments in the classroom both directly – as in quiz and reflection requirements for points in attending the session – and indirectly – as in increased knowledge and skills to accurately and more efficiently perform Library and research based assignments.

Overall student GPA, Community of Inquiry (CoI) scores, and End of Course Survey, were analyzed. Of those who participated in the October 2013 pilot sessions 93% of students achieved the course grade of "A". Additionally, just over 90% of participating students achieved the grade of "A" on relevant Library assignments. Over 90% of student feedback, both in the post-Live Library session survey and feedback in the open discussion forum, was positive, indicated a change in attitude (i.e. from anxious or disconnected to confident and engaged), and included comments illustrating student learning and skill development. Similar positive results were indicated with the April 2014 records. Qualitative data pulled from student feedback in communication to faculty as well in response to an open ended prompt on the post-session quiz yielded very positive and validating results. A small sample of student responses are provided:

“I just completed my live library session and it was very helpful. Since this is my first course it really showed me how to navigate through the library. My library host was super nice and there was only two people in the session so she used my topic in a few of the search engines to show me how to get results”.

“I had my library tutorial today, April 16 from 10:00-10:20 my time, 12:00-12:20 eastern.
I will say that I am glad this is required learning for this course. I didn't realize how helpful the library is and I will be sure to utilize it through this class and all my future classes!”

“I learned a lot of things today. I learned about the different ways to search for topic information. Not only books but journals and papers. I learned that I can save the information in a pdf for future reading. I learned where to find help in siting sources. I also learned that I can search frequently asked questions but I can also ask a librarian directly and that they are pretty speedy in a return response.
I'm happy I got into the tutorial early in the course!”

“ I attended the Live Library session on 10 May 2014 @ 10AM (Pacific Time). The APUS Librarian, Mary-Elizabeth Gano, was very helpful in answering all of my questions regarding the library. I stumbled across the COLL100 Course Guide before, but a great degree of clarity was achieved by attending the Live Library session. I kind of felt like I had previously assembled a bike without reading the instructions, only to read the instructions later... and discover that I could have saved myself a lot of time and frustration by reading them first. The information regarding the FAQs and the help that the library can personally afford to me was really reassuring (ask a librarian, tutor.com, LibChat, and the help tab). The assistance with how to properly search a website was of great value, as I have a bias toward taking everything on the Internet as gospel”.

“I just did the session at 1 and I must say it is very informative. I advise all my fellow students to check it out. Found some really helpful tools that I can use throughout my entire degree process”.

“I had my Library session on Tuesday. I thought it was informative, however, I had already figured out most of what was covered when I was looking up the research paper topic options. What I did find helpful was the information about the book search. I had not started looking at books a sources yet so when I did start after my session, it made the experience very easy”.

“Unfortunately due to my schedule I could not attend a live session, however; I watched the Youtube tutorials on the library tour. One thing I learned that I didnt know before was that on proquest when searching for your topic, click on the book reference, you can actually type in keywords and it will take you to specific chapters in the book that relate to what your looking for. Sounds much nicer then scrambling through the whole book to find one thing that your looking for. I also like that fact that there is a ask a librarian tab. I also learned about the "Deep Web" .You re just one question away from an answer. What a great service to offer the students”.

“I attended the live library session during the third week. I found the experience interesting and informative. I was at work and was still able to do the drop in. The librarians answered all my questions and dropped a few hints on me through chat. I was able to learn how to refine my searches to get the results I needed”.

“First and foremost I would like to say that Mrs. Susan Satory was amazing in every aspect of the word. This is my first online course ever and she broke it down to an easy and very understandable level. I am not very good with computers but she made me feel very confident and knowledgeable about what I was doing, and made me very comfortable about speaking how i felt and asking questions…. Secondly, The "summon" tool, as a novice researcher and new student when pulling information I always feel bombarded with a whole bunch of useless and "rabbit whole" information. With this tool it allows me to specify exactly what I'm looking for and only generate results on what I choose, which helps new users like myself to further focus on what I want to see”.

“I had not attended a Live Library session prior to creating my Annotated Bibliography. I just finished my session tonight. It was VERY informative, though, and it will definitely make creating my Resources page for my final paper easier. I also was shown ways to search the library that I wasn't aware of before. I think had I attended a session earlier, it would have made my search much simpler.”

Scope, Implications, and Discussion
Identifying gaps in students' information literacy skills and knowledge of the APUS Online Library resources allow librarians and College 100 team members to develop new multi-modal assets within the classroom and the library, and to modify current resources for on-demand instruction that better meets students' needs. Feedback gathered from live sessions is being used to transform frequently visited library assets such as the Ask a Librarian reference service, Course Guides and Tutorial Center resources into more engaging, effective, media-rich learning tools. A live chat within the Library is now being tested as one of the Library's new initiatives to personalize service and aid retention.

Directly related to all of the Sloan-C’s Five Pillars of Quality Online Education, the Live Library initiative demonstrates success in learning effectiveness, scale, access, faculty satisfaction, and student satisfaction. Learning Effectiveness: The design and delivery of the program including the assets for classroom integration, for Librarian support, and for live demonstration was done with effective practices of online instruction as well as a focus on pedagogy for first-year students including integration of the principles for andragogy to meet the needs of adult learners. Scale: Those involved in the program leveraged the current technologies for recorded, synchronous, and asynchronous interaction, communication, and instructional delivery. Access: Higher levels of engagement with faculty and Librarians created deeper connections with students in what can be a faceless and voiceless environment. Increased engagement and academic success, as pointed out in the literature, can increase persistence and retention. Faculty Satisfaction: The initial two faculty for the smaller pilot strongly recommended to the program coordinators and fellow faculty to expand the pilot. All faculty involved volunteered themselves and their sections for the pilots and participated in Basecamp, a project management site, to obtain information, ask questions, give feedback, and provide recommendations for current and future work with the initiative. Overwhelmingly faculty stated participation in the project was personally rewarding, how they themselves learned something new when attending a live session, and how the information for the students enhanced their ability to effectively deliver instruction. Student Satisfaction: Evident from the sample of qualitative responses, students became connected to not only their current professor but to a staff member, a dedicated, supportive, and knowledgeable Librarian. Students indicated regularly in feedback how they now understood things that had previously confused them, become more confident in abilities to work in the Library and perform research, and affirmed connection of new knowledge and skills to classroom application.

Live Library Office Hours provides new students in their first class at APUS an opportunity to establish a personal connection with a librarian and the Library. Additionally, with synchronous communication, and an interactive demonstration of crucial search skills, student confidence, competence and satisfaction with the library is has increased, along with improved performance on classroom research assignments. The positive impact of improved information literacy skills, and closer relationships with librarians, should linger in future courses as well.

This more engaging format will allow librarians to teach information literacy in a more proactive way, rather than passively awaiting student queries and hoping (often with no student feedback) that their responses are effective. In keeping with the focus of the Community of Inquiry framework, these live, interactive sessions will grant APUS librarians an unprecedented opportunity to establish social presence with new students, developing a rapport that will endure throughout students' academic careers.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

In addition to tracking attendance at live sessions, survey and qualitative data provided by students, Librarians, and faculty were gathered from the initiative. Such data provided insight into themes, points of confusion, and engagement in the initiative and learning. Student attitudes, knowledge, and skills were surveyed with a pre and post session assessment. Themes were noted by Librarians during session and in follow-up with students. From within the classroom faculty monitored impressions. Instructors used an open forum to discuss the Library sessions and gather feedback asking students what they learned, how will they apply new knowledge and skills, and thoughts on further exploration. Assignments connected to the Library were analyzed to assess any increase in the submissions and quality of grades as compared to COLL100 classes not involved in the pilot.
Students integrated the learning from the Live Library sessions into assignments in the classroom both directly – as in quiz and reflection requirements for points in attending the session – and indirectly – as in increased knowledge and skills to accurately and more efficiently perform Library and research based assignments.
Overall student GPA, Community of Inquiry (CoI) scores, and End of Course Survey, were analyzed. Of those who participated in the October 2013 pilot sessions 93% of students achieved the course grade of "A". Additionally, just over 90% of participating students achieved the grade of "A" on relevant Library assignments. Over 90% of student feedback, both in the post-Live Library session survey and feedback in the open discussion forum, was positive, indicated a change in attitude (i.e. from anxious or disconnected to confident and engaged), and included comments illustrating student learning and skill development. Similar positive results were indicated with the April 2014 records. Qualitative data pulled from student feedback in communication to faculty as well in response to an open ended prompt on the post-session quiz yielded very positive and validating results. A small sample of student responses are provided:
“I just completed my live library session and it was very helpful. Since this is my first course it really showed me how to navigate through the library. My library host was super nice and there was only two people in the session so she used my topic in a few of the search engines to show me how to get results”.

“I had my library tutorial today, April 16 from 10:00-10:20 my time, 12:00-12:20 eastern.
I will say that I am glad this is required learning for this course. I didn't realize how helpful the library is and I will be sure to utilize it through this class and all my future classes!”

“I learned a lot of things today. I learned about the different ways to search for topic information. Not only books but journals and papers. I learned that I can save the information in a pdf for future reading. I learned where to find help in siting sources. I also learned that I can search frequently asked questions but I can also ask a librarian directly and that they are pretty speedy in a return response.
I'm happy I got into the tutorial early in the course!”

“ I attended the Live Library session on 10 May 2014 @ 10AM (Pacific Time). The APUS Librarian, Mary-Elizabeth Gano, was very helpful in answering all of my questions regarding the library. I stumbled across the COLL100 Course Guide before, but a great degree of clarity was achieved by attending the Live Library session. I kind of felt like I had previously assembled a bike without reading the instructions, only to read the instructions later... and discover that I could have saved myself a lot of time and frustration by reading them first. The information regarding the FAQs and the help that the library can personally afford to me was really reassuring (ask a librarian, tutor.com, LibChat, and the help tab). The assistance with how to properly search a website was of great value, as I have a bias toward taking everything on the Internet as gospel”.

“I just did the session at 1 and I must say it is very informative. I advise all my fellow students to check it out. Found some really helpful tools that I can use throughout my entire degree process”.

“I had my Library session on Tuesday. I thought it was informative, however, I had already figured out most of what was covered when I was looking up the research paper topic options. What I did find helpful was the information about the book search. I had not started looking at books a sources yet so when I did start after my session, it made the experience very easy”.

“Unfortunately due to my schedule I could not attend a live session, however; I watched the Youtube tutorials on the library tour. One thing I learned that I didnt know before was that on proquest when searching for your topic, click on the book reference, you can actually type in keywords and it will take you to specific chapters in the book that relate to what your looking for. Sounds much nicer then scrambling through the whole book to find one thing that your looking for. I also like that fact that there is a ask a librarian tab. I also learned about the "Deep Web" .You re just one question away from an answer. What a great service to offer the students”.

“I attended the live library session during the third week. I found the experience interesting and informative. I was at work and was still able to do the drop in. The librarians answered all my questions and dropped a few hints on me through chat. I was able to learn how to refine my searches to get the results I needed”.

“First and foremost I would like to say that Mrs. Susan Satory was amazing in every aspect of the word. This is my first online course ever and she broke it down to an easy and very understandable level. I am not very good with computers but she made me feel very confident and knowledgeable about what I was doing, and made me very comfortable about speaking how i felt and asking questions…. Secondly, The "summon" tool, as a novice researcher and new student when pulling information I always feel bombarded with a whole bunch of useless and "rabbit whole" information. With this tool it allows me to specify exactly what I'm looking for and only generate results on what I choose, which helps new users like myself to further focus on what I want to see”.

“I had not attended a Live Library session prior to creating my Annotated Bibliography. I just finished my session tonight. It was VERY informative, though, and it will definitely make creating my Resources page for my final paper easier. I also was shown ways to search the library that I wasn't aware of before. I think had I attended a session earlier, it would have made my search much simpler.”

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

Directly related to all of the Sloan-C’s Five Pillars of Quality Online Education, the Live Library initiative demonstrates success in learning effectiveness, scale, access, faculty satisfaction, and student satisfaction. Learning Effectiveness: The design and delivery of the program including the assets for classroom integration, for Librarian support, and for live demonstration was done with effective practices of online instruction as well as a focus on pedagogy for first-year students including integration of the principles for andragogy to meet the needs of adult learners. Scale: Those involved in the program leveraged the current technologies for recorded, synchronous, and asynchronous interaction, communication, and instructional delivery. Access: Higher levels of engagement with faculty and Librarians created deeper connections with students in what can be a faceless and voiceless environment. Increased engagement and academic success, as pointed out in the literature, can increase persistence and retention. Faculty Satisfaction: The initial two faculty for the smaller pilot strongly recommended to the program coordinators and fellow faculty to expand the pilot. All faculty involved volunteered themselves and their sections for the pilots and participated in Basecamp, a project management site, to obtain information, ask questions, give feedback, and provide recommendations for current and future work with the initiative. Overwhelmingly faculty stated participation in the project was personally rewarding, how they themselves learned something new when attending a live session, and how the information for the students enhanced their ability to effectively deliver instruction. Student Satisfaction: Evident from the sample of qualitative responses, students became connected to not only their current professor but to a staff member, a dedicated, supportive, and knowledgeable Librarian. Students indicated regularly in feedback how they now understood things that had previously confused them, become more confident in abilities to work in the Library and perform research, and affirmed connection of new knowledge and skills to classroom application.

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 

Equipment necessary for the effective practice is a learning management system, a live audio and video conferencing or meeting tool, headphones and speakers, standard computer and monitor with standard software, and Web 2.0 tools, such as YouTube, survey tools, and scheduling tools for application.

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

Salary of faculty and staff along with cost for technology platforms in use at an institution. No additional costs were incurred.

Other Comments: 

Thank you!

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Angela Gibson
Email this contact: 
angelamgibson@hotmail.com
Effective Practice Contact 2: 
Pricilla Coulter
Email contact 2: 
pcoulter@apus.edu
Effective Practice Contact 3: 
Susan Satory
Email contact 3: 
ssatory@apus.edu
Award Winner: 
2014 Sloan-C Effective Practice Award
Author Information
Author(s): 
Naza Djafarova, Director, Digital Education Strategies, The Chang School, Ryerson University
Author(s): 
Melissa Abramowitz, Instructor, Interdisciplinary Studies, The Chang School, Ryerson University
Author(s): 
Dr. Marie Bountrogianni, Dean, The Chang School, Ryerson University
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education, Ryerson University, Toronto
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

Experiential learning activities, such as role-play, are just as beneficial to students in online courses as they are in face-to-face offerings. Online role-play is an important strategy to allow students to practice skills such as interpersonal communication, problem-solving and negotiation. A range of options exist to support online role-play activity including, text-based, asynchronous, discussion boards at one end of the spectrum and sophisticated, three-dimensional virtual worlds at the other. As a team supporting distance education, we recognized the need for a tool to support the key elements of role-play activity online, while providing ease of use for both instructors and students. In response to this need, the Digital Education Strategies team at The Chang School, Ryerson University, developed an online role-play environment called Lake Devo.

Lake Devo is a highly adaptable online role-play environment and presentation tool. Using any role-play scenario, instructors and students can create scenes and characters and interact in real-time. Role-play activity is captured, and published as a 2-D "movie" that a class may review, discuss, debate and analyze in Lake Devo's self-contained debrief area. Lake Devo’s chat tool allows users to check in with each other “out of role” while they are using the environment.

The environment has been used by students and instructors in a variety of different program areas at Ryerson University to support key learning objectives and evaluations.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

The Lake Devo environment allows students to undertake real-time role-play interaction online. Ahead of the role-lay activity, individual students create their avatar or role-play character. Each Lake Devo role-play character may be customized using a variety of body types, facial features, clothing and accessories. As a group, students may also choose a realistic backdrop for their role-play activity from multiple settings and sounds relevant to many fields and subject areas, including healthcare, business, and education. Using text, sound effects and modifiable facial expressions for their avatars, students can exchange dialogue, while including non-verbal cues that may not be possible when using text-based tools, such as standard discussion boards, for role-play activity. Work on the environment may be combined with some pre-activities, such as ice breakers, away from Lake Devo, to ensure a strong group dynamic during the role-play activity.

All role-play activity is captured as a role-play “movie” which may be reviewed by the class in Lake Devo’s integrated debrief area. Once “out of role”, this allows students to identify lessons learned and to measure how effectively they have applied their skills. In the debrief area, viewable only by their specific Lake Devo Community members, students can post comments and questions and exchange feedback with their peers.

Because of its flexible and adaptable design, instructors may use Lake Devo in a number of ways to support learning objectives in their courses. For example:
If instructors wish to provide a specific foundation or to have students focus their skills in one particular area, they may create a scenario or scenarios ahead of time, complete with characters, for students to role-play. This is a useful strategy when instructors would like their students to consider multiple approaches or solutions to the same problem.

Additionally, instructors may teach through narrative by creating their own Lake Devo movie(s) for review by students. They may then pose questions for reflection and discussion in the Lake Devo debrief area, which allows students to review a movie as many times as they wish and post their comments in response. An instructor may consider creating multiple short movies with subtle differences, prompting students to distinguish important nuances that can affect the outcomes in a given scenario.

The Lake Devo environment is fully equipped to allow an instructor to set up his/her class as an online collaborative community. He/she may enter students’ information, configure working groups and have the system issue login information to all users.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

Since the first version of the Lake Devo environment was designed and launched in 2009, it has been used to support assignments in the following program areas at Ryerson: Interdisciplinary Studies, Retail Management, Fundraising Management, Early Childhood Studies, and Food Security.

Student response to the Lake Devo role play environment has been extremely positive. Student comments include:

“I really enjoyed the Lake Devo group project it was fun and surprisingly simple to use." (The Chang School, Winter 2011, Distance Education Supplemental Survey)

“….. it was a great tool that made the group project most interactive. It allowed for a level of creativity that I had not used in the many online courses I have taken in the past. I would recommend it." (The Chang School, Winter 2013, Distance Education Supplemental Survey)

“The Lake Devo sessions brought out a lot of real life situations and demonstrated many aspects of mentoring.” (The Chang School, Spring 2014, Distance Education Supplemental Survey)

Awards and recognition include:

• National University Technology Network: Honourable Mention, Distance Education Innovation, 2010.
• Canadian Society for Training and Development: Canadian Award for Training Excellence in the “WOW” Category, 2010.

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

Learning Effectiveness – Lake Devo makes the most of the online learning environment to support the key elements of role-play activity. Since the debrief aspect of the activity is as important as the role-play itself, the easy capture and retrievable format of the Lake Devo movies help to maximize learning outcomes. Multiple modes of representation (text, visual, audio) provide students with a breadth of options to connect with and inhabit their role-play characters and settings. The collaborative features of the environment encourage the development of learning communities in the context of online course work.

Access – Instructors at Ryerson make use of the Lake Devo environment in a variety of courses at no additional expense to students. The current iteration of the Lake Devo environment is under active revision for compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. All Lake Devo movies have an exportable transcript which includes full text description of all visual and audio elements. The environment is equipped with thorough “Help” documentation as well as a video tutorial to support independent use of the features by students with a range of technical abilities.

Student Satisfaction – Students have been consulted through surveys specific to the Lake Devo environment as well as via course surveys for the offerings in which Lake Devo is implemented. Students have reported a high level of interactivity and creativity in using the environment and also identify a specific sense of pride in the products that result from their work in Lake Devo. While student satisfaction with the features of the environment has remained consistent, the Digital Education Strategies team has adopted a continuous improvement approach to the design of the environment and has fully revised the environment over the past 5 years, in keeping with student feedback.

Scale – Classes of any size and from any discipline can easily implement the use of the Lake Devo environment. It can also be implemented by Ryerson’s fellow institutions as the environment is not integrated into a single sign-on portal or Learning Management System.

Faculty Satisfaction – Instructors have demonstrated their satisfaction with the Lake Devo environment through repeated use of Lake Devo in their courses. Over the past five years, Lake Devo has been used by a total of ten online instructors, for at least eight different courses, involving over 35 sections of students. Instructors have also been involved in user testing for the environment, as well as in demonstrations of the environment for fellow faculty.

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 

Students and instructors require no special software or equipment to make use of the Lake Devo environment. The only requirement is internet access and creative ideas for role-play scenarios.

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

Lake Devo is available for use by instructors and/or students at no cost.

For the Digital Education Strategies unit at The Chang School, the key area of cost for the Lake Devo environment was the original development by the project team. Ongoing costs have now been reduced to incremental resources for student and instructor support during “high traffic” times. Other than these expenses, the additional investments take the form of up-front instructor time to design their own Lake Devo learning activities.

References, supporting documents: 

Please visit the following links for more information about Lake Devo:

• Lake Devo Overview and Video : https://lakedevo.ryerson.ca/Help.aspx

• Lake Devo Gallery of Student Projects: https://lakedevo.ryerson.ca/Movies.aspx

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Naza Djafarova
Email this contact: 
ndjafaro@ryerson.ca
Effective Practice Contact 2: 
Melissa Abramovitz
Email contact 2: 
mabramov@ryerson.ca
Effective Practice Contact 3: 
Maureen Glynn
Email contact 3: 
maureen.glynn@ryerson.ca
Author Information
Author(s): 
Dylan Herx
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
University of Missouri-St. Louis
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

Online learning requires an additional set of skills to be successful. Not only do students need to be self-motivated and be able to manage time, but they also require the ability to learn and use new technologies. The assumptions are : students are digital natives who will naturally adapt to the online environment and usage of educational technology without much instruction; and the other required "soft skills" (time management, professional communication, etc.) of online learning are an imbued part of adulthood. In reality, students in online courses often need specific training on the LMS and other educational technology and need to be forewarned of the expectations that will promote their own success.

This led us to question if some of these stumbling blocks couldn't be addressed before the student took an online course, much in the same way a first-year experience or freshman orientation addresses some of the issues in transitioning from high school to college. From there, we designed an online course orientation provided to all students enrolled in an online course that included short segments about how to succeed, student expectations (professionalism, team work, etc.), and training videos on the various technology tools students might encounter within the university LMS.

Our goal was to determine if this could provide a low-cost effective way to mitigate some of the gaps and, ultimately, help retain and graduate online students.

Please see the attached videos for more information.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

The Online Course Orientation has short informational segments about expectations and technology. Some include videos, interactive screenshots, or other digital mediums. The Orientation was created on the university LMS (Blackboard). The sections of the orientation are as follows:

  • Start Here
  • Technology (Hardware/Software)
  • Student Expectations
  • How to Succeed
  • Navigating Course Areas (LMS)
  • Assignments and Grades
  • Quizzes and Tests
  • Discussion Boards
  • Presentation Tools
  • Group Work
  • Academic Resources
  • Student Supports

Students enrolled in online classes are automatically also enrolled in the Online Course Orientation and remain enrolled for the duration of their online course. The orientation is presented in short steps, requiring the students to click "Mark Reviewed" to move on. It was designed this way so as not to overwhelm the students, thereby diminishing the likelihood that they would participate in it from the beginning. The technology tool categories are available at all times, however, so that students can visit those areas to learn or refresh on a technology (ex. VoiceThread) that is being used in their online course.

Video Overview of the Online Course Orientation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPOoWHuZSxQ

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

The Online Course orientation has been access by 6712 out of 9040 students (74%) and the average time spent per user is 1.87 hours. The total hours spent by students in the orientation is 12558.73 (as of 7/15/14).

As a better measure of effectiveness, there is a short, 4-question survey at the end of the orientation with the following questions:

  1. What concepts did you learn from the orientation?
  2. What would you change or add?
  3. Did you encounter any navigational or technological issues? If so, what?
  4. Would you recommend this orientation to other students?
    • Yes
    • Yes, with the following improvements (text box)
    • No

The results of the survey have been excellent. There have been 537 respondents to the survey so far, and of those, 93% said they would recommend the online course orientation to other students.

Additionally, many faculty have been pleased that they can redirect some student questions about technology to the Online Course Orientation instead of trying to answer them individually.

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

Learning Effectiveness:
The Online Course Orientation(OCO) prepares students for how taking a course in an online format might require different skills and pre-constructed knowledge than a traditional course, thus providing more time for them to set up scaffolds to be successful (set up a calendar, review professional communication habits, self-reflect on past team experiences). Additionally, the technology portion "primes the pump" for the types of tools they may encounter and because the tutorials are always available, faculty can direct students to revisit the training for a tool(s) that might be used in their course.


Scale:
The OCO is built in the Learning Management System already used at the university. Students are automatically enrolled (by a programming script) and the course has no limit to the number of seats. It also requires little maintenance from year to year.


Faculty Satisfaction:
Faculty anecdotally report that they are happy to not have to continually troubleshoot educational technology issues for students and that largely, they can simply point students to the tutorial videos in the OCO to help the students refresh on the technology.
Student Satisfaction:
The How to Succeed and Student Expectations sections really help students self-identify as to whether an online course is right for them. It also helps them prepare for an upcoming online course and since it is available 24/7, it can serve as a way for them to self-solve technology problems when a staff person is unavailable.

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 

LMS - free if enterprise at university
Computer - cost varies
Screenrecording software (Screencast-O-Matic, Camtasia, Kaltura, Panopto, etc.) - free to $99 depending on product used or if enterprise solution is available at university
ThingLink (image annotation software) - free
USB headset microphone - $40
Image editor - free options available

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

--Time of salaried employee to create orientation
--Computer (assumed to be provided to employee
--$150-$500 in technology hardware/software to create effective screen recording

References, supporting documents: 

Angelino, L. M., Williams, F. K., & Natvig, D. (2007). Strategies to Engage Online Students and Reduce Attrition Rates. Journal of Educators Online, 4(2), n2.

Harrell, I. L. (2008). Increasing the Success of Online Students. Inquiry, 13(1), 36-44.

Lloyd, S. A., Byrne, M. M., & McCoy, T. S. (2012). Faculty-perceived barriers of online education. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 8(1).

Ludwig-hardman, S., & Dunlap, J. (2003). Learner Support Services for Online Students: Scaffolding for success. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 4(1). Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/131

Roper, A. R. (2007). How students develop online learning skills. Educause Quarterly, 30(1), 62.

Wilson, M. (2008). An investigation into the perceptions of first-time online undergraduate learners on orientation events. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 4(1), 73-83.

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Dylan Herx
Email this contact: 
herxd@umsl.edu
Effective Practice Contact 2: 
Daren Curry
Email contact 2: 
curryd@umsl.edu
Award Winner: 
2014 Sloan-C Effective Practice Award
Author Information
Author(s): 
Matthew A. Eichler
Author(s): 
Joshua Book
Author(s): 
Debbie Thorne
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
Texas State University
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

Texas State University utilizes a faculty self-certification process as one process to insure quality distance coursework that meets or exceeds regulatory, accreditation, policy, and best practice guidelines. In the past, a narrative form was used, which required faculty members who taught a distance course to write lengthy descriptions of various aspects of the course management, contents, and process of teaching. Recently, a newer form was introduced which is checklist oriented, simplifying the process of responding to the self-certification process, which was found to improve communication and compliance with the process among faculty members. A satisfaction survey was implemented among those who had completed the first round of the new self-certification checklist to collect faculty perceptions. This processes is implemented by the Office of Distance and Extended Learning, a division of the Vice-President for Academic Affairs.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

The "Best Practice Checklist" was implemented in Summer 2014. Prior to this time the "Principles of Effective Practice" document was used to as part of a self-certification process for distance courses at the university. Any distance class must be self-certified the first time it is taught by an instructor or after three years since the last self-certification by that instructor. Given our decentralized control of distance education courses at a large public university, a friendly self-certification process is used to assure quality and compliance with policy, accreditation guidelines, regulatory guidelines, and effective online teaching.

This change was driven by the Distance and Extended Learning Steering Committee, a committee comprised mainly of faculty, but also including librarians, several administrators, and staff. The committee had shared a variety of anecdotal feedback on the previous reporting form related to the repetition of questions, the inability of faculty to answer some questions, particularly those related to budgeting, and the need to rewrite lengthy responses for each class (when faculty probably utilized similar teaching methodology and tools in most of their classes). Staff from the Office of Distance and Extended Learning drafted a Best Practices Checklist - cross referencing regulatory, accreditation, policy and best practice issues to simplify the document, allow faculty to explain responses if needed, and to improve compliance with faculty completing these self-checks. We surveyed faculty after the first round of form collection and believe the results are positive.

In practice, the collection of self-study documentation had not been a high priority, but was recently brought forward as an important step in documenting quality and compliance for our five-year accreditation review which is upcoming. Now, these forms are collected at the beginning of the term when a course is started or needs to re-certify and kept in a database system, where they can be retrieved easily. We see the forms as both a way to document classes meet expectations and to communicate with faculty who are dispersed (not reporting for supervision purposes to the Office of Distance and Extended Learning) about these expectations. Additionally, not all faculty who teach distance courses work in departments where distance courses are well-established or where a chair or director has a strong background in distance learning. The checklists help communicate and collect the information needed about the courses.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

Although we are in the midst of collection of the first term of collecting the new Best Practices Checklist, we are able to see a quicker return rate from instructors. Additionally, a group of instructors who completed the BPC have been surveyed about their use of the BPC. We have attached the results of that survey and do note that instructors report more positive results with the BPC as opposed to the PGP. In general, instructors report that it helps them see the big picture and understand how ti improve the course, their teaching, and regulatory requirements. Because a checklist is much easier to assess, administratively less time is spent on each checklist as it is submitted to the office.

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

This practice relates to the pillars of scale (cost effectiveness and commitment) and faculty satisfaction. Because of the inherent qualities of a checklist over a narrative document, we are able to process these faster, which is needed as we increase number of distance courses at our institution. In addition, this demonstrates a commitment to effective process improvement for implementing the self-certification program at Texas State. Because of the decentralized nature of distance learning at Texas State, maintaining faculty communications and satisfaction with our processes becomes especially important to continue to have good relationships with faculty who are dispersed among our academic departments at the university. We see this process improvement as being able to improve our relationships with faculty, who are better able to complete this checklist and understand compliance issues related to distance learning.

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 

The checklist is generated on Adobe Acrobat as a form, which is signed by the instructor electronically and completed - although we also allow instructors to print and scan or send to us by mail or in person if they have difficulties using the form. One instructor has opted to complete by hand and scan to us so far. We collect these and keep in a networked file system and also have a spreadsheet to keep track of returns.

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

Staff time - especially since we have largely done away with paper based forms through this new BPC. A similar amount of staff time is used with the BPC as the older Principles of Best Practice Document Narrative.

References, supporting documents: 

Best Practices Checklist http://goo.gl/lQlS51
Principles of Good Practice Reporting Form (old form that was replaced) http://goo.gl/wZZ8C4
Information on Process http://www.distancelearning.txstate.edu/faculty/Best-Practices.html

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Matthew Eichler
Email this contact: 
me21@txstate.edu
Effective Practice Contact 2: 
Joshua Book
Email contact 2: 
jb93@txstate.edu
Effective Practice Contact 3: 
Debbie Thorne
Email contact 3: 
debbiethorne@txstate.edu
Award Winner: 
2014 Sloan-C Effective Practice Award
Collection: 
Vendor EPs
Author Information
Author(s): 
Vincent Termini
Author(s): 
Franklin Hayes
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
ProctorU
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

Student identity authentication for distance education programs is an important factor in the successful implementation of an e-learning program. This check is necessary to ensure an institution is giving credit to the student who completed the work and protects the reputation of the institution. It is also important in efforts to safeguard Title IV funding and reducing institutional liability in federal financial aid fraud cases. Between 2009 and 2012, federal financial aid fraud grew 82 percent, with more than 85,000 people potentially participating in fraud rings, accounting for $874 million during this disbursement period. A February 2014 Education Department Inspector General audit found that federal rules regarding identity verification in distance education programs “do not sufficiently mitigate the risks of fraud, abuse, and noncompliance.” The audit highlights the need for new standards and regulation regarding financial aid disbursement in distance education programs.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) requires institutions receiving Title IV funding to verify the identities of distance education students enrolled at an institution using at least one of three methods: (1) a secure login and password (for example, through a Learning Management System); (2) proctored examinations; (3) other technologies and practices which are effective in verifying student identification.

The distinction between identity verification and authentication is an important factor to consider. Identity verification confirms that the same person has continually shown up to take an exam or logged in. Identity authentication, however, helps prove that the correct person enrolled in the course is the one completing the work or who should be receiving federal financial aid.

As state budgets continue to be slashed, many institutions simply opt for secure student login and password credentials through their Learning Management System (LMS). While this meets federal regulations, basic LMS credentials are not an effective combatant or deterrent against financial aid fraud or academic integrity violations. A wide array of effective and trusted authentication methods are available, however, these still do not document that the student who is authenticated is actually the one who is taking the exam or enrolled in the course. To ensure a secure examination environment in online education while adhering to federal regulation, a combination of live proctoring and one or more identity verification tools should be implemented.

Identity verification tools have become an important factor when complying with federal regulations. There is a broad range of tools that can be used to authenticate the identity of distance learning students. This practice does not seek to promote or advocate any method’s superiority, but rather to explain the effectiveness of such tools in tandem with live proctoring.

Challenge-based questions are an effective authentication method that rely on various public record databases. The questions often relate to residential history and other characteristics that only the enrolled student would know. Random questions are generated from a sample bank of over 120 personally-identifiable elements. This is the same method implemented by the banking and healthcare industries.

A major bio-metric analysis tool is keystroke analysis. Typical keystroke analysis measures characteristics such as length of time to type a particular word or phrase and the length of time a key is pressed, among the many features of a person’s typing behavior.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

Acxiom, one of the largest providers of personally-identifiable, challenge-based questions is a method utilized by the banking and healthcare industries to verify identities of their customers.

According to KeyTrac, a major keystroke analysis company, on average, only two people in 10,000 have very similar typing behavior.

ProctorU relies on these and other methods of student authentication during the invigilation process. While these methods authenticate students, it is live proctoring that ensures that the authenticated student is indeed the same person who completes the exam.

A visual confirmation by a trained proctor observes the student alongside their government-issued photo ID. A proctor is also there in real time to monitor the biometric login or records-based challenge question scores. Lastly, the student is observed logging into their LMS with supplied credentials.

These measures ensure that not only is the institution in full compliance under the HEOA, but also that the academic integrity of the exam is held to the highest standards. The process also helps to deter financial aid fraud and reduce institutional liability. This process has been trusted for over 500,000 exams and is the primary tool for combating academic integrity violations of over 500 institutions around the world.

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

Access: By relying on bio-metric analysis or records-based challenge questions, test-takers from around the world can be accurately and securely authenticated for online examinations. Live proctoring requires minimal hardware or software and many test-takers already have the necessary equipment if they are enrolled in an online course. These basic requirements have allowed exams to be taken by service members while deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Faculty Satisfaction: The most effective proctoring service should adhere to federal regulations regarding student authentication, as well as providing a secure environment that upholds the academic integrity of the student, faculty and institution. Live proctoring and authentication replicates the face-to-face monitoring of a classroom during an online examination. ProctorU’s process is trusted by over 500 institutions around the world because administrators can communicate directly with the proctoring session database and view session notes in real time regarding authentication and any session irregularities.

Learning Effectiveness: An online exam with live proctoring and trusted authentication tools is a more effective method for measuring student learning. These tools help combat academic dishonesty and uphold the integrity of the exam, student, faculty and institution.

Scale: Since the authentication process is dependent upon student interaction with an automated system, there are nearly no limits to scalability. Biometric analysis is extendable to any number of users around the world.

Student Satisfaction: The authentication process is a simple process and requires little time to complete. Many students are comfortable with the process because similar identity verification tools are used in a growing number of industries including the credit and banking industry, and retail and healthcare sectors.

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 

Students need a well-functioning computer, high-speed Internet and a webcam to be proctored and authenticated. Faculty members only need access to the Internet and ProctorU with a basic, well-functioning computer.

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

The only cost associated with ProctorU is the usage fee per proctored exam based on length. The cost of authentication is included in this fee. Depending on the institution’s requests or needs, this cost is sometimes covered by the institution and other times by the student. However, this is a nominal fee that is equal to or less than the cost of finding a physical proctor at a testing center.

References, supporting documents: 

Below are the titles, links and brief descriptions of articles that describe the effectiveness of student authentication tools and live proctoring services.

Experiences verifying the identity of distance learning students:
http://www.learninghouse.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Student-Authenti...
The for-profit education sector and community colleges are experiencing significant online education enrollment growth to meet consumer demand for education in a slumping economy. Along with growth comes quality concerns related to two areas: Academic integrity and criminals targeting online education programs for student aid fraud.

Identity verification through dynamic keystroke analysis:
http://www.di.unito.it/~gunetti/curriculum/ida-paper.pdf?origin=publicat...
Typing rhythms are the rawest form of data stemming from the interaction between users and computers. When properly sampled and analyzed, they may become a useful tool to ascertain personal identity. Unlike other biometric features, typing dynamics have an important characteristic: They still exist and are available even after an access control phase has been passed. As a consequence, keystroke analysis can be used as a viable tool for user authentication throughout the work session.

The reliability of user authentication through keystroke dynamics:
http://janmagnus.nl/papers/JRM089.pdf
People can be authenticated by something they know; like a password; something they have; like a credit card; or by some part of their anatomy; such as a finger print. When typing on a keyboard a user can be authenticated through what they type, but also through how they type through keystroke dynamics.

Behind the Webcam's Watchful Eye, Online Proctoring Takes Hold:
http://chronicle.com/article/Behind-the-Webcams-Watchful/138505/
The article presents information about online test proctoring. The author looks at several online proctoring companies that work with universities, such as ProctorU. The article also discusses the emergence of open online courses and the use of proctoring with webcams.

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Vincent Termini
Email this contact: 
Vtermini@proctoru.com
Effective Practice Contact 2: 
Franklin hayes
Email contact 2: 
fhayes@proctoru.com
Collection: 
Student-Generated Content
Author Information
Author(s): 
Terry Buxton, PhD, RN, CNE
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
Regis University
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

When converting a RN-BSN completion program (9 out of 10 courses) from a traditional face-to-face setting into a blended format a variety of essential partners were included to develop successful and effective blended courses. Participants included nursing faculty with experience teaching in online, blended, and face-to-face instruction, nursing faculty with content/subject expertise who may or may not have taught in a variety of formats, an Instructional Designer, affiliate faculty who teach the courses, and program administrators.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

Regis University has a long history of very successful online and ground-based RN-BSN completion programs. In the summer of 2012 a decision was made by program administrators to convert the entire ground-based RN-BSN program (9 out of 10, 3 credit courses) into a blended format that could be taught at various outreach/employer sites. Faculty who taught in the online RN-BSN program were recruited to lead the project. The end goal was to create a product that met the same approved and accredited course objectives, outcomes, and content as the online and current ground-based courses without sacrificing quality of instruction or the effectiveness of teaching and learning experiences that was present in the traditional delivery format.

After reviewing the literature including resources such as Quality Matters various formats of delivery were selected. It was decided early on to include essential players who have various roles in the design, implementation, maintenance, and instruction of the courses. These essential players included nursing faculty who had experience teaching in online, blended, and face-to-face formats, nursing faculty who have content/subject experience, an Instructional Designer from the Learning Technologies Department who has extensive experience working with the RN-BSN online courses and faculty, various affiliate faculty who teach the courses, and the program administrators. During the design phase of the courses the essential partners offered important perspectives about course objective and outcomes, structure of assignments, which technology would enhance learning, which technology to avoid, best practices for teaching/learning, and how to create student learning communities that would be successful for both synchronous and asynchronous learning.

At Regis University, the RN-BSN program is taught in 8 week terms. Based on the unique attributes of some courses, the complexity of the material presented, and additional factors such as one course being a clinical practicum, different formats were used for 4 of the 9 courses. For example, the first course, NR444R is an introductory course in the program. This course was designed so that only 2 of the 8 weeks met in an asynchronous format giving student time to adjust to the new format. It was also determined that any new technology used in this course would be first demonstrated and trialed during the face-to-face class sessions so that students could receive immediate "how to" instructions live from the instructor thus eliminating potential student/faculty frustration at having used unfamiliar technology on their own. Another course with more complex content on Research and Evidence-Based Practice was structured in a similar format as the introductory course so those students have more face-to-face time with the instructor and their peers to ask and answer complex questions. Instructors and students can also decide during Week 7 of the course whether or not they want to continue meeting face-to-face or online. The majority of courses, 5 out of the 9 courses are structured in a standardized 4 X 4 format in which classes meet face-to-face for 4 weeks and the other 4 weeks are online. Flexibility is offered to affiliate faculty teaching this course that they may alter the format of delivery depending on holidays, bad weather, or their own scheduling conflicts. Students enrolled in the course are notified in advance by the instructor of any course scheduling changes. The last type of delivery is based on a seminar type delivery. Two of the 9 classes in the program meet this way. In this structure, 5 of the 8 classes are in an online format and students meet face-to-face on the first, at mid-term, and the final class. During these classes students are involved in field projects and are given more flexibility with their time. The increased asynchronous time is used for students to "check in" online to report progress on their activities.

As a result of the collaborative actions of essential partners realistic and relevant courses were created that enhance student learning, improve skills using technology, and increase flexibility for faculty and students. The first cohort of students is completing their program this summer. We are currently in the data collection phase of this program. Preliminary data suggested that the students are highly satisfied with this form of instruction; appreciate the flexibility in their time commitments as they are working professionals. Affiliate and full-time faculty who have taught these blended courses report high levels of satisfaction with the course, format of delivery, and flexibility of their instructional time.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

Course evaluation surveys (which unfortunately I am not able to provide) suggest students are very satisfied with this method of instruction.
An IRB approved study is currently underway. We are in the data collection phase regarding student satisfaction with this form of learning, whether or not blended courses enhanced their learning, increased the flexibility of their time, and increased their skills using technology. Faculty satisfaction data collection is also underway.

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

Excellence in learning is a central tenet of Regis University. Learning effectiveness, and student/ faculty satisfaction are key areas that are measured at Regis just as they are with Sloan C's quality framework. As an accredited institution it was highly important to match or even exceed standards of learning effectiveness demonstrated by student outcomes. Student and faculty satisfaction are important in that they are generally measured in retention. If either is dissatisfied with the quality of instruction, they leave.
The pillar of scale is especially important as faculty traveling to outreach/employer sites was costly as was the time factor for busy working professionals who are trying to complete a rigorous degree program.

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 

Time and a stable LMS. It was definitely most helpful to have and Instructional Designer as part of the team. Her knowledge about technology, the LMS system used at Regis, and her experience with online instruction was a valuable addition to our planning and ongoing use of her expertise.

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

Unknown

References, supporting documents: 

Ash, A. (2012) Educators view 'flipped' model with a more critical eye: Benefits and drawbacks seen in replacing lectures with on-demand video. Education Weekly, August, 29, 2012, pp. 6-8. Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/08/29/02el-flipped.h32.html
Educause Center for Applied Research (2012). ECAR study of undergraduate students and information technology, 2012). Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/library/resources/ecar-study-undergraduate-stude...
Moore, J. (2011). A synthesis of Sloan-C effective practices. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 16(1) pp. 91-115.Retrieved from http://sloanconsortium.org/node/add/effective-practice
Penn State University (2013).Web Learning at Penn State: Penn State Quality Assurance e-Learning Design Standards. Retrieved from https://weblearning.psu.edu/?s=quality+assurance

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Terry Buxton, PhD, RN, CNE
Email this contact: 
tbuxton002@regis.edu
Author Information
Author(s): 
Bevin Clare
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
Maryland University of Integrative Health
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

A peer-case-based learning course was converted to serve a blended learning clinical program. The course objectives drive a peer-to-peer learning experience with faculty serving as “guides” in the process rather than the experts. This delivery emphasizes the impact of student generated ideas and critical thinking and minimizes the common focus that there is a “right” way to approach individualized client care. Peer-led experiences are the focus of this course and the subsequent learning environment is intended to serve both students and faculty.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

A peer-to-peer-case-based learning course was converted to serve a blended learning clinical program. The conversion of the program containing a team – taught case-based learning class was conducted between 2013 – 2014. Prior to conversion, this on-campus case-based learning course was offered for close to a decade with minimal adaptation. Upon conversion of our clinical program to a blended program, this course underwent significant alteration with contribution from previous faculty and students involved in this course.

The course was held online as student clinicians were also onsite for their clinical internships. It was held as a 12 week course with eight faculty offering specific weeks. In each week a detailed biomedical case was provided by the faculty member and a “lead-student” was assigned. The lead student would review the case prior to the start of each week and assign a detailed question about the case to each of her peers. By the middle of each week, each student will post a thorough response using adequate biomedical references to the forum as well as a response to a peer’s posting. In practice, the forums were busy areas of conversation more than the expected singular response.

Concurrently, in a separate forum, the lead student would also post their perceived assessment of the case as well as their clinical care goals (both long and short term). Each non-lead student would then post their own, highly specific, recommendations for the client including dietary, lifestyle, and therapeutic medicinal prescriptions. Peer critique and response posting was also required.

Faculty contributed to both forums, moderating the biomedical question responses and adding to, or correcting if needed, the student responses. They also commented on the goals and the plans and ultimately contributed their own strategies to the mix.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

Please see the attached supportive documentation for evidence as well as the following summary.

Overview
The conversion of the program containing a team – taught case-based learning class was conducted between 2013 – 2014. Prior to conversion, this on-campus case-based learning course was offered for close to a decade with minimal adaptation. Upon conversion of our clinical program to a blended program, this course underwent significant alteration with contribution from previous faculty and students involved in this course.
A survey of the students in their newly designed course was conducted, as was a survey of the faculty team (many new to any type of alternative delivery) who were able to compare (from their perspective) the new adaptation to the old format.

Student Survey Results
Nine of the twelve students participating in this course responded to the survey. Overall, all students reported learning “Significantly” or “Immensely” from 1) their peers, 2) In their own research, and 3) Writing answers to the peer-generated questions. No students reported learning “Minimally” or “Nothing” in any of the categories listed, although two students reported learning only “Somewhat” from the faculty (as a peer driven course this is partially expected and is consistent with previous feedback).
Being assigned a question from their peers was rated as an effective way to learn by 100% of the responders, and the assigning the questions to their peers was seen as an effective way to learn by 89% of them. Central to peer –based learning, 95% of students reported reading all or most of their peers submissions in all categories.
Overall, 100% of the students felt this was an “effective way to explore case studies”.

Faculty Survey
Six faculty who team-teach this course were surveyed on their perception of the course, often in relation to their prior experience with the F2F version. All faculty had previous taught in this course, generally for many years. For many of them, it was their first experience with alternative methods of delivery.

All faculty agreed that students were learning “Immensely” or “Significantly” from 1) their peers, 2) in their own research and 3) by writing their goals and plans. Answering peer-based questions was more controversial from faculty perception (although not from student perception).

Faculty were also surveyed about their own learning in the course and 100% of them reported that they themselves learned from the answers students reported to the peer-generated questions. More than half of them also reported learning from the questions from students, the goals and plans, and from their own research and preparation.
In the direct comparison of the online and F2F versions of the course, faculty overwhelmingly reported that he online version of this course was similar or better for all categories (except student engagement which was scored, on average, similar to the in class environment) particularly for biomedical understanding and peer-to-peer learning.

Overall, 100% of faculty felt that this was an effective way to explore case studies and 83% of them felt this was an overall “improved educational experience over the F2F version”.

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

This practice relates to pillars in three areas.

Most importantly, the learning effectiveness of the peer-to-peer case based learning was critical. In comparison to the F2F environment students were more equally engaged and given adequate time to bring in significant outside resources. In the surveys conducted, students and faculty overwhelmingly reported high scored in learning effectiveness.

Faculty satisfaction in this was was reflected by the surprisingly high number of faculty reporting significant learning beyond their more standard preparation for the course. In the survey, 100% of faculty reported they learned from the replies to the peer-generated questions.

Lastly, student satisfaction was significant to this course, with 100% of students feeling this was an effective way to engage in case-based peer-to-peer learning.

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 

An LMS or comparable online discussion forum.

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

N/A

References, supporting documents: 

Please see the attached document for their student and faculty surveys.

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Bevin Clare
Email this contact: 
bclare@muih.edu
Collection: 
Student-Generated Content
Author Information
Author(s): 
Linda C Algozzini, Instructor
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
American Public University System
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

This author currently teaches a foundations course for new/transfer first year students entering an open access, asynchronous online university. The course is standardized and has a set design model, which cannot be altered or added to. Changes are not allowed to the syllabus, lesson content or instructional flow of the course.

The course requires a level of proficiency with information literacy skills for reading, writing and written communication. Scaffold learning activities are present to facilitate the construction of a final APA research study by course end. However, the past two years have noted a change in students who enter the university and are required to take the foundations course. Students exhibit a wide range of proficiency from those exhibiting deficit literacy skills, lack of self-regulation, to a large majority of students lacking the meta-cognitive practices to reflect and think about their own thinking in order to shift from old paradigms to new. The learning activities maintain the scaffold purpose but students miss connections and relevancy with the content and seek further clarification to internalize their understanding.

There always seems to be something lacking in getting the students comfortable with LMS / navigation; ability to engage in critical thinking; frustration with the utilization of the APA style of writing; or inability to produce quality work from the expected learning activities.

Thus, a need was determined. This author set out to explore mobile/tablet apps and multimedia tools to find simple, yet effective options, which would provide value added resources to a standardized course design. The primary goal was to ensure that each of the Community of Inquiry (COI) presences were provided to enhance:
1. Building a community of learners
2. Engagement/collaboration with the content
3. Feedback
4. Support access
5. Student satisfaction
6. Increase retention
7. Meaningful learning experience for all students enrolled

The value added resources could be added to the front of forum (discussion board), the forum Q & A, classroom messages, and announcements. No other areas within the LMS could be altered.

The primary focus of the exploration was to determine the instructional use of each digital tool based upon the category criteria (practice, communication, content creation, assessment, collaboration and presentation). The intent was to align to weekly objectives and expected level(s) of Bloom’s Taxonomy. The desired outcome from the value added resource integration would be to encourage student understanding and proficiency with the content while increasing instructor presences for social, teaching and cognitive within instructional delivery. In addition the value added resources would provide exposure to media literacy (Core competency for 21st Century Learning).

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

Description of the Effective Practice
Week 1
Forum 1 Through the Years with Mrs. A --Animoto Family Video with Bio (My model for forum and visual introduction to my family)

Webcam Opening Welcome Video inserted as a reply to every student’s Who am I? Initial post (This video greets and outlines expectations for students as they begin the course)

Week 2
Forum 2 Bulldog VOKI--(60 second instructional frame on how to cull out information from the research and place on the attached framework sheets to support the use of paraphrasing (prep for research writing)

Week 3
Forum 3 Blooming Up to Critical Thinking VOKI--(60 second instructional frame on using Bloom’s for forum replies to peers. Written Bloom’s question stems also added under the VOKI as guides to effectively respond with Blooms

Essay WORDLE

Week 4
Forum 4 Research WORDLE

Week 5
Forum 5 Topic Style Show Me IPad App Screen Cast APA Citation (Whiteboard Demo on APA citation)

Thesis Development Links; generators and slide show

Forum 5 Case Study

Week 8
Forum 8 Closing Webcam Video- (Summary of course, key learning’s and the continued use of reflective practice)

Pre Announcement
Screen cast video for navigation (Skitch screenshot and Screencast-o-matic tool to provide an interactive guide to navigation and access for the Sakai LMS)

Q & A SECTION –Posts Serve as Answers to FAQ

NAVIGATION SCREENCAST GUIDE (Created from IPad Explain Everything App and Telligami)

FORUMS-VIDEO EXPECTATIONS (Animoto Video on Week 1 Expectations/Examples which used ppt slides within video)

HOW TO’S-ADD VIDEO VOKI TO FORUMS (VOKI intro on how to add a voki or video the forums or LMS)

RESEARCH STAGE ONE-WEEKS 4, 5, & 6 VIDEO (Animoto video with ppt slides on gathering information, MindMap and thesis development)

RESEARCH GRAPHIC PROGRESSION OF ASSIGNMENTS TO FINAL PAPER (Info graphic created to visualize the progression of weeks learning activities to the final paper)

RESEARCH WEEK 4 GATHERING INFORMATION (Powerpoint slide with Audacity vocal track)

RESEARCH WEEK 4 OUTLINE/MINDMAP (Powerpoint slide with Audacity vocal track)

RESEARCH WEEK 4 THESIS DEVELOPMENT (Powerpoint slide with Audacity vocal track)

ASSIGNMENT AREAS FEEDBACK GUIDES

Week 3 Personal Essay
Sound Cloud Interactive Voice Guide to understanding the grading for the essay

Educreations IPad App Visual and audio screencast guide for understanding grading
for essay

Week 5 Assignment 8 Reference Page
Webcam Video with Audio interactive guide to understanding the grading of the scaffold reference page assignment

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

At the present time there is no quantitative data available. I have been piloting and beta testing the digital tools that are simple and easy to embed within our Sakai LMS for the COLL 100 division to roll out and train faculty on various tools to create and implement as value added resources within their COLL 100 courses. Since I began a year and a half ago students have commented on how it helped their understanding to hear my voice or to see and hear me demonstrating a concept. Since I have been sending out the navigation interactive screencast two days prior to any course opening I have had less emails with students being overwhelmed and not able to find their way. Each of the digital tools have reduced the emails on clarifying as students are generated to the tool first and then requested to come back to the message center if they need more. This has not only supported the students but overall has reduced my workload management. All emails are archived in our classroom message center and are ready for the IFR to capture and sort by data topic. The tools are logged and ready for the university to attempt to utilize some data analytics when ready.

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

The tools were provided to support an increase in learning effectiveness, access, faculty satisfaction, and student satisfaction.
Students need to feel comfortable within their LMS or they will not be ready to take a risk with collaborating and engaging with their peers or instructor. In order to increase retention and prevent early withdrawals or drops student need to feel as if they are in control of their learning and understanding the content to the point that their proficiency is adequate to advanced. They need to enjoy what they are engaged in and that cannot be accomplished when they are overwhelmed or worried. Faculty are judged on their effectiveness and their COI data scores which are directly aligned to student surveys on the course and the instructor interactions with them.

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 

Webcam, Computers, Ipad
Sound Cloud, Vocarro, Youtube, Animoto, Screencast-o-matic Voki, Tellagami sites
Ipad Screencast apps: Show Me, Explain Everything, Educreations, bContext,
Skitch screen shot Ipad app

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

To date, my costs have been with my Ipad Air, Macbook Air and IMac computers. Any computer or tablet device can be used as well as the equivalent apps for screen casting, screen shot, webcam etc. All of the sites that I currently use are the free versions and provide date storage except for Vocaroo.

I am currently beta testing Voice thread which would involve a cost.

References, supporting documents: 

I recently completed my Sloan Teaching Certificate program on November 25, 2013 with a specialization in Online Tools.
I will upload my three Eportfolio forms for the Online tools specialization.
In addition I will add my final portfolio Powerpoint presentation that was part of my final portfolio live session. During this session I provided a guided tour of the course I designed along with integration of digital tools.

Other Comments: 

My powerpoint could not be uploaded as it stated I exceeded the 2MB requirement. I will provide if the committee would like to see it.

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Dr. Amy Peterson
Email this contact: 
Apeterson@apus.edu
Effective Practice Contact 2: 
Dr. Angela Gibson
Email contact 2: 
Agibson@apus.edu
Award Winner: 
2014 Sloan-C Effective Practice Award
Author Information
Author(s): 
Brichaya Shah
Author(s): 
David E. Stone
Author(s): 
Derrick Sterling
Author(s): 
Kathryn C. Morgan
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
Instructional Design Unit: Office of Faculty Support and Development
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
Southern Polytechnic State University
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

The Teaching Academy for Distance Learning (TADL) was created to provide faculty with a formal certification process. This process also helps faculty develop quality online courses. The program format was initially a 47-hour, 3-part training course for Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) faculty. This program began in the fall 2008 and mostly focused on technology tools and their use in instruction. As part of an ongoing quality improvement process, TADL has continued to enhance the online learning capabilities at SPSU.

The program’s dependency on a particular software has decreased as the program has evolved. The Instructional Design Unit (IDU) has worked with faculty in the development of online courses across academic disciplines. Their balance between pedagogy and technology allows minimal changes in the program format as new technologies emerge. Key to the program is the team-based approach. This approach brings in expertise from instructional design, instructional technology, as well as digital media.

The TADL program is housed within the faculty-driven Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE). The CTE has explored a broad range of teaching and learning activities. It has built strong relationships across campus. Faculty value the CTE and their partnership helps validate the activities of the Teaching Academy for Distance Learning.

TADL evolved from a single face-to-face only program into three versions: face-to-face, online, and blended formats. Within the program, faculty from across campus are brought together to build online courses as well as discuss issues related to online learning. This has created a community of practice around online learning. This community supports informal learning networks within the institution and has allowed for growth in online learning.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

TADL is not just a faculty development program. It is a truly hands-on program that allows faculty to learn new skills and acquire knowledge to design, develop, and deliver quality online courses at SPSU. Some of the components of this course include: weekly meetings (face-to-face or online), multimedia-rich learning modules, and interactive learning objects that address different learning styles. This course also includes assignments that allow faculty to apply their newly acquired skills. While completing the course, participants in TADL have full access to a diverse team of instructional designers, digital media specialists, and an instructional technology specialist.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

Upon completion of TADL, all of the newly developed courses were sent out for external review. These reviews were completed by instructional design professionals working in the field. This process resulted in a 100% pass rate for the 5 years that TADL has been offered. As the program matured, it went from an informal process to a more formal review of the course objectives, modular objectives, and course alignment. This review includes a Subject Matter Expert reviewer from each participants’ department.

Course components are developed during the TADL program and feedback is given to participants as they progress. This continuous review, in combination with the external review of the developed courses, provides multiple opportunities for feedback.

TADL was developed for several reasons. First, single workshops and short term training sessions were not valued as significant professional development for faculty. Second, there was a demand for a more in-depth exploration of online learning and course development. Since developing TADL, this program has become recognized and supported by several deans and department chairs who insist that new hires go through this program. They also insist that the department adopt some of the practices that TADL instills in its participants.

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

The TADL instructors’ practice aligns with the pillars of “Faculty Satisfaction”, “Learning Effectiveness”, and “Scale”. Faculty are empowered by the TADL experience and develop a support network with their peers. This allows for continuing discussion and learning outside of TADL. TADL is now offered in multiple formats (Hybrid, Fully-Online Instructor-led, and Self-Paced) to accommodate faculty schedules and learning preferences. Many of the resources for TADL are re-used between formats. As a result of the TADL experience, some departments have developed standard templates for their courses that have unified the student experience throughout their academic program. SPSU instructors exhibit learning effectiveness because after the successful completion of TADL, participants can continue to develop quality online courses that constantly improve based on the available technologies.

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 

Many of the resources necessary to build this program would already exist at most institutions. We have made use of a classroom equipped with computer stations and common university software. Infrastructure required includes the learning management system, as well as a desktop/web conferencing solution.

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

We provide a small stipend ($1,000) for TADL participation and departments often pay the faculty for the development of the course built as part of TADL, with the amount at the department’s discretion. This amount is often roughly the amount adjunct faculty are paid to teach courses.

References, supporting documents: 

An extensive description of the program, along with videos and TADL materials are available online at:
http://spsu.edu/instructionaldesignsupport/TADL/index.htm

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Brichaya Shah
Email this contact: 
bshah@spsu.edu
Effective Practice Contact 2: 
Kathryn C. Morgan
Email contact 2: 
kmorgan@spsu.edu
Effective Practice Contact 3: 
David E. Stone
Email contact 3: 
dstone@psu.edu