Sell It So They Buy It: Continuously Improving Faculty Buy-In to a Statewide Online Course Quality Initiative

Concurrent Session 2

Brief Abstract

Based on one state’s dual (college/university) system approach to designating “quality” online courses, this session will address practical needs of instructional designers vis-a-vis facilitating faculty adoption of and engagement with “continuous improvement” quality assurance efforts for online course design.


A popular speaker and facilitator, Dr. Kelvin Thompson regularly addresses groups throughout the US on topics related to online/blended learning and educational technology while he serves as the Executive Director of the University of Central Florida's (UCF) Center for Distributed Learning ( with a faculty appointment as a graduate faculty scholar in UCF's College of Education & Human Performance. Dr. Thompson has collaborated on the design of hundreds of online and blended courses over the past twenty years and is active in the online education community. Kelvin developed the BlendKit Course open courseware ( as part of UCF's Blended Learning Toolkit, and he also co-hosts TOPcast: The Teaching Online Podcast available on iTunes and at His personal research interests center around how interaction affects learner engagement, and information on his Online Course Criticism qualitative evaluation model for facilitating the scholarship of teaching and learning in online and blended environments is available online ( Kelvin Thompson holds an EdD in curriculum and instruction and an MA in instructional systems technology from UCF and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from The Florida State University. Curriculum vitae is available online at
Michelle Franz has worked in higher education and eLearning for 15 years in administrative and faculty roles, including program management, instructional design, and training and development. As dean of eLearning, Franz provides strategic leadership, creativity and administrative oversight of the eLearning Department and supports the College’s learning mission by providing faculty and administrator’s information and support about all aspects of eLearning, including the innovative use of technology in instruction, faculty development, and the growth of eLearning programs and courses. Franz holds a bachelor’s degree in politics and government from University of Hartford in Connecticut, and a master’s degree in teaching with technology from Marlboro College in Vermont. She is working on her doctoral degree in education at Nova Southeastern University.

Extended Abstract

Catalyzed by a state university system strategic plan for online education, the combined institutions of the Florida College System (FCS) and State University System of Florida (SUS) are engaged in an ambitious initiative to recognize high quality online course design and excellent online teaching. Laudably, buy-in for this initiative has been fostered at the highest levels of the two systems and throughout the senior academic leadership of the individual colleges and universities. Efforts have been directed toward constructing a non-evaluative, continuous improvement-oriented quality assurance initiative. However, it is in the daily work of the instructional designer and online instructors where such an initiative will succeed or fail. If faculty do not engage willingly and meaningfully in course design quality reviews and course updates, or if instructional designers are not able to build trust with faculty and add value to the course review/revision process, the intended benefits of a statewide quality initiative cannot be achieved.

In this session, lessons learned and best practices for successful ID/faculty implementation will be summarized. Session participants will be invited to share the successes and challenges of implementing quality review initiatives at their home institutions and systems. The presenters, co-chairs of the statewide workgroup underpinning this dual system quality initiative, will draw upon their broad and deep perspective to engage with session participants during the session and afterward. An explicit emphasis will be placed on participant interaction and personal application of session topics.


A draft outline for the session appears below:

  1. [5 mins] Why You?
    Session participants invited to participate in a pair-and-share exploration of their home contexts and felt needs for attending this session.

  2. [5 mins] Why Quality?
    Context for a dual-system course design quality initiative.

  3. [5 mins] “Why Should I?”
    Navigating perceived costs and benefits for faculty in engaging in the online course review process.

  4. [20 mins] How Can I?
    Summarizing institutional processes, communication strategies, and individual instructional designer practices that have proven helpful in fostering meaningful faculty engagement with course quality reviews/revisions.

  5. [10 mins] How Do We?
    Guided discussion with those in attendance about how to apply lessons learned in the context of our broader community of OLC institutions and instructional designers. Possible directions include but are not limited to, email distribution list, shared GoogleDocs, follow-up conference sessions, etc.