The DL Jedi Academy: Developing a Certified Online Training Program at Your Institution
Concurrent Session 2
This session examines how one institution developed an in-house Certification Program for online “Jedi” faculty. The program provides instructors with advanced LMS training, overviews of best practices in teaching online, and consultations with instructional designers as the faculty develop their own online course and move away from “The Dark Side”!
Training faculty to teach online effectively can be a challenge for many reasons. First, many budgets are limited, leaving most professional development to be handled at the institutional level. Additionally, many faculty find themselves teaching online unexpectedly due to last-minute schedule changes, with little time to prepare for the transition from the classroom to the online environment.
Our institution has taken a proactive approach to educating faculty on best practices in teaching online. To “strike back” at these ongoing challenges with online teaching, we have developed a 9-month Distance Learning Certification training program, in which participants read about best practices in online learning, watch videos demonstrating these best practices, and develop an online course of their own. Their course development involves multiple consultations with an instructional designer and instructional technologist, who review the course and offer suggestions for improvement.
Applications for the certification training program are reviewed in August, and 10-15 participants—our padawans—are accepted for the year. Participants begin by completing a self-assessment to determine their ability to teach online. They then participate in a series of training, from watching videos, reading articles/blogs/websites, planning to develop their course, creating material for their course (lecture videos, etc.), and discussing their experiences with their classmates.
After they complete the training, participants focus heavily on course development, meeting with an instructional designer and/or instructional technologist a minimum of three times until the course receives final approval from the consultants. Participants then present their course to the class/cohort, pointing out what specifically from their “Jedi” training they incorporated into their course and what information they found most helpful throughout the process. This allows for a “share and learn” type session, where participants learn a few final “tips and tricks” from their classmates.
In this session, we will present an overview of the stages of the training program and explain our process of selecting applicants, developing training materials, and hosting a “graduation” ceremony for each cohort. Presentation slides will be used during the presentation and available to attendees through the conference website. Attendees will learn how to provide training to online faculty by using in-house and free resources, in order to improve the overall quality of online courses.
We will begin our session with a Kahoot game to engage attendees; specifically, the session will be broken down as follows:
10 minutes: Introductions and Kahoot
25 minutes: Overview of Training Program and How It Was Developed
10 minutes: Discussion & Questions