Designing and Implementing an Online, Self-Paced Professional Development Curriculum for Online Instructors

Concurrent Session 8

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

By designing and implementing a curriculum of 100% online, self-paced professional development courses, one instructional designer and two student workers at the University of Bridgeport developed a full range of online learning professional development experiences for its instructors as part of a DIY model for online course design utilizing Canvas.


Michael Lockshier is the Director of Instructional Design and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Bridgeport, in Connecticut, where he collaborates with Deans, Directors and Faculty to design and develop online programs, hybrid courses, and explore alternate uses of Canvas LMS. He also created and maintains an online training initiative providing online professional development to those who teach online. He has an M.S. in Learning Design and Technology from Purdue University and a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Bridgeport. Currently, he is pursuing a doctoral degree in Education. Michael spent 8 years in higher education teaching ESL learners. He has presented at multiple regional conferences regarding the incorporation of instructional design and online best practices into other areas of higher education including CanvasCon, CONNTESOL, TESOL, and NACADA, and OLC.

Extended Abstract

In 2016 the University of Bridgeport implemented a major change in their online course and program development and design process. With intention to move from an enterprise model to a DIY model, the University looked to one instructional designer to create a unique-to-UB experience for instructors and students alike. Starting from the basics, the instructional designer researched and wrote institutional online standards, developed online course evaluation materials, outlined an online faculty guidebook, drafted institutional policy, created an agile online course design template and implemented variations of it across 12 online programs only to find himself needing a way to provide professional development to online instructors who would be developing and teaching online courses for the university in the future.  With limited resources and the need for support and growth, the concept of a curriculum of online, self-paced courses for instructors and students was born.

This session will look at the one year process which saw the development of 11 faculty professional development courses and 5 student tutorials along with both online instructor and online student orientations and a roadmap to success for each. Samples of the curriculum map, reusable learning object database, instructional materials, learner feedback (both instructor and student), and a tour of one of the final courses will be shared in the session. 

Throughout the process, each course was developed using an agile ADDIE based, rapid prototyping process which will be explained in this session. The instructional designer created ‘perfectly imperfect’ courses with little concern for any inessentials (color, alt-text, ideal imagery) and passed them to a graphic design student for refinement. These courses were them put together to form a course design and development process for instructors to use in creating their own online courses.

All this was made possible through the vision of one ID who aligned the standards, expectations, and training materials through a series of reusable learning objects resulting in branded, customized documentation and animated instructional videos.

Whether you’re a ‘lone wolf’ instructional designer or a member of an online learning team, this session will offer examples of how to raise the bar at your own institution and provide your learners the type of experience you’ve always dreamed of.