A Commitment to Faculty: Professional Development to Support Growth in Large Scale Online Programs

Concurrent Session 6

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Your online programs are growing. Do your faculty have the tools they need to design and deliver quality learning experiences? Come reflect and learn as we outline our professional development plan dedicated to online faculty at Arkansas State University. Get tips to accelerate professional development at your institution.


Dawn Archibold is an Instructional Designer for A-State Online Faculty Support at Arkansas State University. Her educational background includes an MBA concentrating in Marketing and a MS Ed with a double major in Workforce Education and Development & Curriculum and Instruction. She is dedicated to supporting faculty in building their confidence in utilizing technology, knowledge of the principles of online course design, and providing motivational support throughout the online teaching experience. Her research interests include engagement in online learning, the impact online learning can have on enrollment at higher education institutions, Web 2.0 applications in teaching and learning, and online faculty development.

Extended Abstract

After attending the session, participants will be able to:

  1. Critically reflect on the efficacy of our university’s shared online faculty development plan.

  2. Identify a key area in the professional development offerings for online faculty at their institution which can be improved.

  3. Outline a plan for improving the key area of professional development for online faculty at their institution.

  4. Develop strategies for engaging online faculty in professional development? at their institution.

  5. Evaluate professional development for online faculty at their institution and recommend changes to support growth while maintaining quality.


As online learning continues to expand in the realm of higher education, institutions need to ensure that they are providing relevant professional development opportunities for online faculty. Professional development specific to online teaching is vital to supporting the quality of the overall learning experience for students. But what does this look like? How do you ensure that the professional development you offer to online faculty meets their needs?


Background of Arkansas State University's 100% Online Programs

In 2008, Arkansas State University (AState) entered into a strategic partnership with Academic Partnerships (AP) and began offering its first 100% online program. Nine additional online degrees were added to the online offerings in 2009. In 2011, AState Online Services (AOS) Department was created which houses team members from admissions, registration, financial aid, student services and advising who are dedicated to supporting the online students. But what about the faculty who are teaching in the 100% online programs? Who is dedicated to supporting them? While A-State does have a department dedicated to aiding faculty in their teaching endeavors, it is not dedicated to online teaching.  AOS Faculty Support (AOSFS) was created in the Spring of 2016 and is dedicated to supporting online teaching. AOSFS is led by a team of Instructional Designers with diverse backgrounds who are dedicated to working with faculty to design and deliver high-quality online courses. They also ensure that professional development opportunities are catered to the art of online teaching.


Today, we offer degrees from 38 programs across the university which enrolls over 4,000 students.  Our partnership with AP has granted us the experience of two individuals, Dr. Jeff Kissinger and Mr. Matthew Postins who help with the course building process and professional development that is delivered to online faculty.

In this interactive session, we will discuss challenges that we all face in providing professional development to online faculty as our online programs grow. We will review the background of our online programs. We will also talk about how we at AState have managed this growth with nearly a decade of experience and what our plans are for the future.

Participants will be presented with scenarios for designing professional development for a specific situation and asked what they would do to solve the problem.



  1. Review online instructor curriculum at A State

  2. Review curriculum changes for 2017 based on 10 years experience

  3. Identify and discuss strategies to engage faculty in professional development

  4. Discuss ways to develop and implement a professional development plan for online faculty

  5. Create dialogue amongst participants to share pain points and successes in online faculty professional development