Better Together: Developing a Manual for Online Teaching at a Multi-Campus University

Concurrent Session 2

Brief Abstract

The parking lot is not the only thing all faculty share! A grass-roots committee has developed a repository of tools including a manual for faculty that covers processes, resources, and important policies for online teaching. This session will discuss how people work together to get things done, for everyone.    


Dr. Ann H. Taylor has worked in the field of distance education since 1991, focusing on learning design and faculty development. As the Assistant Dean for Distance Learning and Director of the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute at Penn State University, Ann is responsible for guiding the College of Earth and Mineral Science's strategic vision and planning for online learning. She works with faculty, administrators, stakeholders, and Institute staff to plan and implement online programs that are tailored to the needs of adult professionals worldwide. She serves on University committees focused on strategic planning, policies, and procedures related to the Penn State's distance learning initiatives and has been an active member of the University Faculty Senate since 2007, where she currently serves as its elected Secretary. Ann regularly works with University colleagues to create resources for faculty who teach online and face-to-face, and she shares her work as a frequent public speaker and author.
Andrew holds the Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership, Management, and Policy from Seton Hall University in 2013. His dissertation is titled, The Strained Partnership Between Secularization and Sectarianism in Higher Education. He earned my B.A. in religion from Westminster College (PA) followed by my M.Div. and Th.M. from Princeton Theological Seminary where he won the Fellowship in Practical Theology. Andrew began work in faculty development as a Senior Instructional Designer at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ and then as a Federal Title III Grant Program Director at Mount Aloysius College in Cresson, PA. He has published in the Teacher’s College Record, the Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory, and the Journal of Religion and Popular Culture. He has also co-written a book chapter in the volume, Private Higher Education in Post-Communist Europe: In Search of Legitimacy (2007). Andrew has presented at conferences such as The Association for the Study of Higher Education, the Online Learning Consortium, Educause, and the Educause Learning Initiative. He is the proud father of two young boys and have an adorable black lab. He is an avid reader, drummer, insatiable consumer of music, coffee fiend, and you will find him running whenever and wherever he can.

Extended Abstract

Workshops should be designed with specific, identifiable learning outcomes with in-class opportunities to support collaborative and/or interactive group activities.

How can a multi-campus, large, research university create universally accepted guidelines, tools, and resources that support online teaching? The Faculty Engagement Subcommittee (FES) at Penn State is comprised of faculty and staff from across the University who pursue collaborative endeavors for the purpose of building a strong foundation for faculty engagement in online teaching. The FES is a large group whose representatives include teaching faculty, learning designers, and faculty development specialists. Meeting monthly, the FES identifies common needs for tools, templates, guidelines, and other resources related to online teaching that would benefit the entire University community. Working groups are then formed to develop draft resources which are then vetted broadly, tested and refined, and finally presented to the University community through a core website.

To date, the FES has developed a large online repository that includes a manual for faculty that covers essential principles and expectations, processes, resources, and pertinent University policies. The manual was designed as a template, to be adapted by academic programs, colleges, or campuses to fit the needs of their faculty in their particular environment. In some ways, the manual is symbolic of how the committee strives to create, share, and distribute resources that can benefit all faculty who teach online at Penn State.

This session will introduce the FES model and discuss how the faculty manual was created and how it has been adapted by several colleges and academic programs. We will also explore other resources that have been developed by the FES and the process by which we continue to develop, adapt, and share a broad repository of resources for online teaching at Penn State.

The presenters will also engage the audience in a discussion about the issues participants are encountering at their own campuses with collaboration, sharing of resources, and developing standard tools for faculty.