Creating a Path to Success: Faculty Development for New and Prospective Online Instructors

Concurrent Session 5

Brief Abstract

Teaching online or in a blended modality can be daunting for faculty who are accustomed to teaching in a traditional, face-to-face format. This poster presentation will describe a faculty development initiative aimed at providing a path to success by introducing new and prospective online faculty to effective practices and pedagogies.

Presenters

Deborah Mixson-Brookshire, is a Professor of Management and Distance Learning Coordinator at Kennesaw State University. She has been an educator for over 18 years. Striving to create an innovative classroom experience for her students, she utilizes experiential education tools including distance learning to accomplish course outcomes. Deborah has published a variety of articles involving her experiential learning and distance learning research interest. Instructing and leading a variety of workshops, she is able to share her research and experiential pedagogical methods with others. She has also given international and national presentations sharing her passion for teaching and distance learning.

Extended Abstract

The need to increasing online course offerings is growing as many institutions confront issues of space constraints, diverse student needs, expanding programs/degrees, competency-based learning, and learning analytics. Because “Enrollments in online courses have been growing faster than overall higher education enrollments in the past several years” (Means, Bakia, & Murphy, 2014, p.2), there is an increasing need to provide development and support for faculty who are currently teaching online and those who might eventually teach in online or blended modalities.Providing faculty with intentional introductions to best practices in online teaching can help dispel common myths and allay personal concerns they have about teaching online or in a blended format.Furthermore, this type of support can also encourage faculty to consider incorporating online technologies into their face-to-face classes to further enhance their instruction and student engagement.

 

This poster presentation will describe one example of a faculty development program, created by two faculty members (one also serves as the Distance Learning Director in the college), to create a path to success for prospective online instructors. The faculty development model encompasses a two-fold approach that includes a series of workshops and a one-stop distance learning portal housed in the university’s learning management system (LMS).The series of workshops include topics about best practices, pedagogies, habits of successful instructors, myths and facts about online teaching/learning, scholarship of teaching and learning online, quality online instruction, and new tools in the online environment to enhance learning and engagement.The one-stop shop is a unique approach that provides asynchronous workshops and videos about various online software and tools, developed by other faculty members who are experienced online instructors, in addition to a collection of webinars, articles, links to resources, and a discussion board for questions and engagement opportunities. With this one-stop portal, faculty members have the opportunity to also see the “student side” of the LMS, which often provides also an opportunity to gain a new perspective.We will provide participants with a handout describing the various workshops and resources from both the in-person workshops and online workshops and resources available in the one-stop portal, and we will describe the impact on faculty participants in the online development program through personal reflections.

 

The approach to faculty development could be adapted and used with staff, corporate training, administrators, or instructional designers on an international scale, especially where institutions or corporations are looking to expand their online training or course offerings.