Just-in-Time and Just-What’s-Needed: Harper College’s Targeted Approach to New Online Faculty Training

Concurrent Session 3

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Harper College has developed three, two-week, fully-online courses for faculty who are new to online course development or facilitation.  The courses— called Create, Facilitate, and Enhance—each address a specific training need of our busy faculty.  Discover how Harper created this successful just-in-time and just-what’s-needed training experience

Sponsored By


Melissa is an instructional design specialist at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois. In her role, she assists online and traditional classroom faculty with course design, teaching strategies, and instructional technology. She has an M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology from Western Illinois University. Prior to her current position, she was a full-time accounting instructor in the Wisconsin Technical College system and an online course developer for Career Education in Schaumburg, Illinois.

Additional Authors

Jenny is the Distance Education Instructional Design Specialist at Harper College. She works with faculty who are developing and modifying their courses, as well as works to implement distance education quality and growth initiatives at Harper. She holds a Master’s degree in Education, in Curriculum and Instruction.

Extended Abstract

Harper College has developed three, two-week, fully-online courses for faculty who are new to online or blended course development or facilitation or who are interested in learning about quality distance education.  Each course addresses one of three critical skills: 1) how to create a well-designed online or blended course from scratch; 2) how to effectively facilitate an online or blended course; and 3) how to enhance an existing online or blended course with engaging tools and activities.  The courses— called Create, Facilitate, and Enhance—provide options for busy faculty to focus on the skills that best meet their needs.

Faculty who are called upon to develop an online or blended course for the first time are encouraged to take Create.  In the Create course, faculty learn about critical components of quality course design, receive an introduction to the Open SUNY Course Quality Review (OSCQR) rubric used at Harper for evaluating online and blended course design quality, modify an existing course syllabus for use in an online or blended format, and build two complete course modules inside a provided model course shell.

Faculty who will be teaching an existing online or blended course for the first time (either one they have developed or one that has been provided to them) are encouraged to take Facilitate.  Facilitate participants learn about critical components of effective course management and communication, develop a faculty schedule to aid in the management of their course, and enhance their course and syllabus using tools to encourage faculty-student and student-student interaction.

All faculty who have been or will be teaching online or blended are encouraged to take Enhance.  Enhance provides faculty with tools and techniques to enhance their online course in ways that encourage student engagement. Faculty in the Enhance course explore basic screencasting/lecture capture tools and best practices, incorporate web-based tools into their course, use an exam proctoring and monitoring tool, facilitate online group work, and make online materials accessible for students and compliant with copyright guidelines.

Harper College instructional designers and distance education faculty designed the courses to be a learn-by-doing experience.  Faculty develop or enhance materials during the two-week experience that will be seen and used by their students.   Here are a few assignment descriptions from among the three courses:

  • Build a course orientation module and one learning module inside your sandbox course shell or a course shell of your choice
  • Review your course against the OSCQR rubric standards
  • Complete accessibility updates to your course and to your syllabus
  • Record a short lecture capture video to include in your online or blended course
  • Create a mid-term survey to solicit feedback from your students

Participating faculty share the work they have done by creating video walkthroughs of their courses and/or sharing screenshots or access to their courses to share their work.   In most cases, faculty share their work with one another in addition to the facilitator so that they be inspired by the work of their peers.

In this Discovery Session, an instructional designer that worked on the development of the Create, Facilitate, and Enhance courses and an experienced distance education faculty member that has facilitated the courses will present the rationale for the three-course design, a breakdown of the course goals and outcomes, and the experiences they’ve had working with faculty to complete the courses.   Participants in the Discovery Session will receive a handout that lays out the topics and goals of each of the three courses as well as an abbreviated syllabus from each course to explore.  Participants will be encouraged to think about the needs of the online and blended faculty at their own courses and share their ideas for just-in-time and just-what’s-needed training ideas that could apply at their institutions.