Successfully Scaling an Online Instructor Certification Course: Challenges and Innovative Solutions

Concurrent Session 3

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Since 2012, the University of South Florida has certified online instructors through a fully online course. The course is successful; however, there were administrative challenges including scalability, tracking, and maintenance. In this session, you will learn techniques and tools we used to streamline processes, reduce facilitator workload, and improve tracking.

Sponsored By


Victor has a BA in Psychology and M.Ed. in Instructional Technology from USF. He has worked at USF since 2008, and has held many instructional design roles, including: online faculty consultant, instructional designer, and course developer. Having a background in Psychology, Victor's passion is to help professors develop engaging presentations for the benefit of their students.
LaSaundria Bass is a Multimedia Instructional Designer and Facilitator at the University of South Florida (USF) with the Innovative Education Digital Media Training and Support (DLTS) team. She assists faculty in effective design and development of online classes through one on one consultation and provides faculty with direct training and support for instructional technology faculty wish to use in their online courses. As a part of DLTS, she consults with instructors on various aspects of their courses and providing different ways to present materials and engage students.

Extended Abstract

The University of South Florida requires certification for its online instructors to teach fully online courses. To meet this requirement, we developed a fully online certification course, offered every six weeks to cohorts of faculty up to 30 attendees per cohort. Overall, the course has been extremely well received by faculty and effective as a platform for ensuring the skills necessary to be a viable online instructor. Yet, as with any successful institution-wide initiative, un-foreseen issues and challenges began to arise. In particular, the volume of Canvas course shells created for each cohort became difficult to manage, ultimately resulting in:

  • Too much time spent in administrative tasks
  • An inconsistency of each cohort course shell (different content for different participants)
  • Trouble maintaining accurate tracking lists of certified and non-certified instructors
  • Issues of keeping track of late work and monitoring participant progress

These challenges were resolved with some simple yet extremely effective adjustments to the organizational structure and delivery of the certification course.

In this session we will show you:

  • How we reduced facilitator workload by consolidating courses within our Learning Management System (LMS), resulting in a higher level of efficiency and accuracy
  • How we established data and tracking protocols
  • How we used creative workarounds using the Canvas LMS “Groups” and “Course Section” Tools to manage participant‘s activity and grades

This session is perfect for you if you:

  • Are facilitating, administering, or considering an online instructor certification program or workshop at your institution
  • Already have an online instructor certification program but want to explore approaches for streamlining administrative tasks such as tracking, grading, late work, and participant management
  • Want to learn more about Canvas LMS, specifically advanced approaches in leveraging the “Groups” and “Course Section” tools for participant management
  • Are simply interested in finding out about the administrative challenges (and fixes) of an online instructor certification program