Training Faculty in the School of Health Science to Deliver Online Courses
Concurrent Session 3
This session describes training for faculty members in Touro’s School of Health Sciences to enable them to teach online. Training was delivered via webinars and cybercafes and used the Touro Rubric for Online Education to guide them in in online course structure and pedagogy. Session participants will learn about a powerful model for training new online faculty.
This session describes the two-step process used to train experienced faculty members in the Touro School of Health Sciences to teach online. Faculty went through two intensive training programs to master knowledge and skills required to teach online. Part I of the training was called Module Making Camp and lasted for four weeks. Part II was called Course Creation Workshop which lasted for twenty weeks.
Faculty were required to demonstrate mastery of the material by producing a series of scaffolded deliverables. The cumulative deliverables would result in the creation of either one online module (in Module Making Camp) or a complete online course (in Course Creation Workshop).
By asking faculty to create a course and incorporate critical elements of course structure and course pedagogy, using the Touro Rubric for Online Education as a formative roadmap, the goal was to ensure that faculty could apply the tools and skills they were learning for current and future course design. The requirement to produce deliverables was based on training in another graduate program. When deliverables were not required, faculty responded positively to training but did not incorporate new material effectively within their courses.
Integrated into both programs were a series of webinars and cybercafes. Specific skills were taught in the webinars. Cybercafes were used to answer faculty questions relating to material covered during the webinars, to assist with completing required tasks and to review and to delve deeper into Bb features or other tools introduced at webinars. Cybercafes offered a great opportunity to discuss pedagogical concerns and to build community among participants.
Initially, faculty was invited to Module Making Camp, a four-week long introduction to online course design. Module Making Camp began with a webinar in Week 1 followed by cybercafes in Weeks 2, 3, and 4. Attendance in the webinar and two cybercafes were mandatory. were mandatory. Cybercafes were designed to answer questions faculty might have in completing their assignments. In Module Making Camp, faculty learned how to build one online module that could be used as part of a traditional course to replace one face-to-face class session or one week’s worth of work for students. The online module consisted of developing learning outcomes, instructions for students, learning activities, learning materials and assessments. Upon completion of all of the deliverables required in Module Making Camp, faculty had the option of participating in Course Creation Workshop where they would build a fully online course.
Course Creation Workshop enabled faculty to move from a focus on one online module to understanding the holistic approach necessary to creating a well-designed online course. Course Creation Workshop was twenty weeks long, consisting of six webinars with one or two cybercafes held during each of the intervening weeks. The goal was to provide enough time for faculty to thoughtfully produce the deliverables required so that by the end of Course Creation Workshop, each participant would have a complete, well-designed course that was structurally and pedagogically consistent with best practices defined in the Touro Rubric for Online Education.
As a way to keep course navigation and structure consistent across all courses, the faculty participants in Course Creation Workshop were first introduced to the online course template to keep course navigation and structure consistent across all courses. They were then introduced to the Touro Rubric for Online Education as a formative tool for organizing their course site. Over the course of training, faculty focused on strategies for building student engagement and instructor presence, preparing instructional materials, low stakes and high stakes assessment plans, and other features of course design and delivery. Items in the Rubric were introduced in pieces at each session to reinforce learning and to provide guidelines for best practices in course design.
Throughout the course, the trainer modeled best practices in online learning. For example, announcements were provided on the learning site and sent via email to all faculty members 2-3 times/week. Announcements might be feedback regarding assignments provided to the entire group, but also practical pieces reminding them faculty of assignment due dates or upcoming cybercafes or tips for creating more engaging videos. The trainer also communicated with each participant individually one to two times per week. Additionally, using recorded videos on Jing or Kaltura (Blackboard’s video tool) each participant was provided video feedback one to two times each semester. The trainer also requested and addressed participant feedback mid-way through the semester, individually reached out to participants behind in submitting deliverables and continuously added question-answer pairs to the course FAQ discussion forum.
Participants learned how to use a course map to keep all learning outcomes, materials, activities and assessments coherent and in alignment. Technology tools were introduced to enhance learner engagement and build faculty presence. Faculty learned how to use various online tools, including Padlet, VoiceThread, Kaltura Capture Space Lite and built greater familiarity with Blackboard (the LMS) tools, such as SafeAssign, Blog, Wiki, Adaptive Release, Test, Rubric, Survey and Grade Center. Faculty also built surveys designed to elicit feedback from students.
Student engagement and best practices were routinely modeled by the trainer. For example, one faculty member was reluctant to try online tests because he felt that he would not use it in a class. He was encouraged by the trainer to just create one question for a syllabus quiz (low stakes assessment). Once he did that successfully, he was receptive to creating a longer quiz irrespective of whether or not he envisioned using the quiz in his course.
In this session, participants will learn about the design of Module Making Camp and Course Creation Workshop and lessons learned from these professional development programs. An interactive discussion will focus on how this information can be applied to the training goals of session participants.