Enhancing the Student Experience Through Improved Course Design (on a Budget!)

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Brief Abstract

In this session, attendees will learn about how my institution has worked with a shoe-string budget and a small team to identify a combined set of strategies to engage, support, and develop faculty members’ understanding of accessible and quality course design, which was done in an effort to improve learning experiences for students.


Heather Burke is an associate professor in the Department of English at Hondros College of Nursing, and her work focuses on teaching first-year composition, supporting nontraditional students, and developing quality online curriculum.

Extended Abstract

The presentation will explore strategies used to improve students' online learning experiences through the promotion of faculty members’ understanding of accessibility, ensuring that their courses meet standards, and understanding of quality course design through the use of internal reviews and an institution-developed rubric. In 2017, my institution took on the task of improving its online courses to better meet the needs of students and ensure consistent quality across offerings. As a result, accessibility requirements were closely examined against the institution's active online sections.  Session attendees will learn about the insitution's development of an ADA training session for faculty members and an ADA checklist for faculty members' use in online courses.  In 2018, the institution moved forward with internal Quality Matters (QM) reviews, which were used as a faculty development opportunity and a way to engage faculty members with the process, which prompted a number of individuals to continue on with formal professional development opportunities offered through QM.  Session attendees will learn about strategies, challenges, and outcomes, which they can apply to their own implementation of an internal review process at their institutions to improve course outcomes for students.  Additionally, the session will focus on my institution's current creation of its own rubric that emphasizes additional course aspects valued by the institution, such as transparent assignments, learning preferences, collaboration and community, and diversity.  There will be an emphasis on what led to a need for the institution’s own rubric, as well as how attendees can develop their own in collaboration with faculty, administrators, and instructional designers.  At the conclusion of the session, attendees will be able to take the institution's tips and strategies, that don't require an endless budget and a large team, back to their own campuses.