Online Professional Development for Online Faculty That Puts Peer-Peer Learning First

Concurrent Session 1

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

It is no novel notion that our professional development should model the very best of practices that we would like faculty to engage in when teaching online. But how do we get there? Come join in a critical analysis of the way we offer Professional Development to our online faculty. 


As Online Teaching and Learning Architect I have two main roles. The first is instructional design and development of online learning courses. The second is lead professional development facilitator for online pedagogy effectiveness and instructional technology integration.

Extended Abstract

We create and administer educational opportunities with the conviction that online learning done well can transform access and opportunity in an academically rigorous way. We eschew the notion that face to face learning must necessarily be in some way superior. Yet our professional development for our online teaching community still remains largely face to face. For those meaningful peer-peer discussions we too often rely on butts-in-seats-workshops. We can do better.

Reflecting on this motivated a lengthy and persistent continual improvement effort to offer a model of professional development to our faculty who teach online that is accessible to all, including those part-time faculty who work full time or live a distance away and cannot make it to a face to face workshop. As a community of practice, online educators have so much insight to share with and glean from each other, yet they rarely bump into each other! The future of professional development models must solve this challenge. We teach our faculty how to engage students to meet learning objectives in online classes and we should be modeling that in our professional development by offering those very same effective practices that we want our faculty to employ in their own online courses.

Beyond our required credentialing courses that faculty must take to be certified to teach online and recertified annually, we have finally begun offering voluntary professional development on Blackboard that is asynchronous and puts peer-peer interaction first. It’s not a webinar, or a video, it’s a real chance to discuss the content with other online faculty at the same institution. It seems so straightforward, but it was not easy to get here!

This session will cover the ways that our Teaching and Learning Center tracks professional development, reflects on reports of participation and feedback, collaborates to make decisions about modifications to continually improve our professional development offerings, and ultimately how we are leaning into a shift from an old model to the beginning of the next 25 years.

Level of Participation:

So bring your best background effective practices knowledge and earn the most coins in this participant driven quest to shake up old models of professional development and see what is left standing. To take you on the journey of where we’ve been, to where we are, and where we’re going, participants will be challenged to answer first, via their device, questions pertaining to the recent history of, current landscape, and what’s on the horizon for professional development formats for online faculty. The participant with the most coins will win a special prize!

Session Goals:

Throughout the journey details will be shared of a newly launched completely voluntary professional development course hosted on Blackboard. Survey results from those faculty who took the class will be discussed. Individuals attending this session will walk away with strategies for attracting participants, insight into how I leveraged patience and understanding to affect continual improvement at my institution, and be able to describe effective ways to create faculty-to-faculty collaboration and deep learning in a fully online and asynchronous model of professional development for online teaching.