Inclusion and Engagement: Designing an All-College Community of Practice for Online Faculty
Concurrent Session 3
Learn how a college in a land grant, Research 1 university provided faculty development to its 60 online instructors through a three-day, on-campus conference. Strategies, innovations, lessons learned, benefits, and take-aways are discussed.
This session details how a college in a large public, Research 1 university in the Mid Atlantic designed and implemented an on-campus conference for 60 local and at-a-distance online faculty teaching in a variety of academic degree programs. Based on the idea that a college's online faculty benefits from a face-to-face professional development and community building, the session describes how faculty and administrators created a community of practice around professional development workshops, an all-college town hall discussion of the future of online education, and small group breakout sessions. Details are shared of the various roles of administrators (deans, associate deans, directors), support staff, instructional designers, and faculty. Of special note is the community building strategy of placing all online faculty (from all programs in the college) in a Canvas section for communication, orientation and onboarding, a resource repository, prompted and spontaneous discussions, information sharing, and asynchronous faculty meetings.
The presentation team consists of the associate dean for undergraduate students and outreach, the director of outreach for online programs, one director/instructor for an undergraduate online program, one director/lead faculty for online graduate program, the college's lead instructional designer, and the director of online faculty development unit for the university's online campus. The team discusses the rationale for the conference, benefits to various stakeholders, specific details and logistics, content of presentations, workshops, and activities over two and a half days, strategies for building an ongoing virtual community of practice for online instructors, lessons learned and mistakes to be avoided, and a summary of the post-conference evaluation.
The presenters will crowdsource ideas for implementing a fully virtual online faculty conference and community of instructional practice. Session participants will contribute observations and ideas through whole group discussion, small group idea generation for future conference programs content, opportunities and challenges of designing their own online faculty conferences (face-to-face, online, or hybrid),
Learning outcomes: Participants in this session will be able to:
- Recognize, describe, and explain the ways in which online faculty at the program and college levels can benefit from focused professional development experiences, face-to-face and virtually;
- Describe, critically analyze, and assess issues related to logistics, finances, capacity demands, resource allocations, and other "costs" for hosting conferences like the one presented.
- Integrate and apply the lessons learned and presented by the conference organizers to their own online faculty development endeavors.
- Synthesize information and formulate novel ideas based on the faculty take-aways and survey results for the conference evaluation
Those who might benefit from the presentation include online faculty, faculty developers, online program lead faculty, online program coordinators, department and college staff, department heads, associate deans and deans of colleges.