Going Multi-modal & Inter-institutional: Innovations in Professional Development for Distance Education

Concurrent Session 6

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

New Mexico Highlands University, with 5 campus locations, delivers training for online course development and instruction using a multi-modal and inter-institutional approach. The presentation will demonstrate the model, query attendees on how they approach professional development to multiple audiences, and provide evidence of effectiveness from the faculty perspective. 


Cathryn Brooks-Williams earned her masters in Social Work but was drawn to the research side of the profession. She worked as a researcher and data analyst before entering education as an adjunct professor, teaching statistics, research methods, and introduction to social welfare for eight years. During her time as an instructor, she started investigating better methods and strategies to teach her classes--both asynchronous and synchronous as well as face-to-face. She discovered instructional design and within a few years, applied for the position at New Mexico Highlands University. She has been working for nearly three years as an instructional design specialist for the Title V UNIDOS Grant. In that time, she's also been the lead designer for the UNIDOS Tri-Institutional Collaborative Team developing and delivering professional development seminars to three institutions; and she's the chief editor of the Title V UNIDOS Newsletter with both print and email distribution for Adams State University, University of New Mexico at Taos, and New Mexico Highlands University. Her interests are course design, student engagement strategies, active learning, and still conducting data analysis.
Dr. Diana Marrs has been the Director for the Center for Teaching Excellence at New Mexico Highlands University for 3 years. Through her leadership, NMHU now has two online courses for faculty development teaching online, a CTE website of training resources and events, and expanded development opportunities to include all instructors (tenured, adjunct, GTA's), and at all campus locations. She comes with 18 years experience managing the creation of online courses, teaching online, and providing professional development to faculty.
Ann Wolf is an Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at New Mexico Highlands University. She is the Past President of the College Reading and Learning Association and is a reviewer for the Journal of College Reading and Learning and the Journal of College Literacy and Learning.. Her teaching experience has been as a Reading Specialist in K-12 schools and a professor in Developmental and College Reading, as well as, a professor of literacy in Teacher Education at two and four year colleges. Ann has presented on literacy topics at state, regional and national conferences. She is a recipient of the Robert Griffin award for Long and Outstanding Service to the College Reading and Learning Association.

Extended Abstract

New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU) includes a main campus and 4 center locations across the state of New Mexico. The Center for Teaching Excellence at NMHU and Title V grant programs “UNIDOS” and “CONECTADO” provide professional development for online teaching and learning to all campus locations. In addition, through the UNIDOS initiative, NMHU partners with Adam State University and the University of New Mexico Taos to provide an innovative inter-institutional faculty support and training program to all three institutions. Multi-modal trainings are offered via onsite workshops, live zoom sessions and asynchronously through our LMS. Development opportunities include discussion forums, webinars, workshops, video recordings and a digital newsletter that assist faculty in course development, as well as covering pedagogical and andragogical aspects of the online educational environment and experience.

The presenters will describe the multi-modal, inter-institutional model for providing professional development for online teaching offered at NMHU. During the session, the presenters will engage the attendees through polling software and discussion to share their methods for training delivery, challenges, and innovations. In addition to sharing modals of delivery, we will introduce the faculty perspective of this training, and will provide data on the impact of training on the use of the LMS, the development of new online courses, and the faculty evaluation of services. The presenters will discuss with attendees various methods for assessing professional development effectiveness.  

The outcomes of this presentation will be for attendees to hear models for delivering training to multiple campuses and for attendees to share existing or potential models of inter-institutional collaborations for delivering professional development. The presented model is one that can be replicated at other institutions. A PDF of the presentation will be provided to attendees and conference proceedings, and posted on the OLC conference website.