Collaborations Toward Quality: Facilitating Student-faculty Partnerships for Online Course Design - A Pilot Study

Concurrent Session 7

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Initial results of a collaborative program teaming students with faculty to provide support and feedback for the design and development of effective online courses.

Extended Abstract

Since the Summer of 2014, Western Oregon University (WOU)'s Center for Academic Innovation has offered both Summer and Winter Online Teaching Institutes, faculty cohort programs to assist tenure track or full-time non tenure track faculty in the creation of effective and dynamic online courses. Faculty who participate in the Online Teaching Institutes explore new ways of teaching and learn to use relevant technology to promote student engagement. Course development follow the Tailored Instruction principles for effective design, and several design and development tools (such as the Intentional Design Framework and the TEC Course Design Guide) are made available to faculty to ensure their courses foster effective learning experiences. The Institutes, which consist of two initial half day workshops supplemented by several weeks of as-needed individual consultations and a final peer-evaluation and sharing session, blend a structured development timeline with presentations and peer work-shopping sessions, to allow faculty to share ideas, challenges, and motivation in a supportive environment while taking full advantage of personalized instructional design consultation and development support.

In the Summer of 2015, a collegial partnership was established between WOU and Central Wyoming College (CWC) to offer the Summer Online Teaching Institute (SOTI ë15) as a collaborative effort, with a SOTI held at CWC week of June 1st, and at WOU the week of June 15. This collaboration included the Directors of each institution travelling to participate in the other's SOTI event, serving as guest lecturers, and providing as-needed consultation throughout the event. To better reflect CWC's student-engaged ëactive learning' culture, the structure of the CWC SOTI was adjusted (and improved) to include significant student participation in the event. This participation consisted of student-provided academic technology demonstrations and an open question-and-answer student panel. Furthermore, CWC students were assigned a faculty ëpartner' to assist and support throughout the entire design and development process. As feedback from those participating in the CWC experience was decidedly positive, the WOU SOTI '15 was adjusted to also include a student panel question and answer session.

At the conclusion of WOU's SOTI '15 event, faculty were surveyed for their feedback regarding the student panel, and also asked for their initial reaction to the CWC ëstudent development support' model, and whether or not that felt that a similar program should be implemented at WOU. Additionally, faculty were asked if they could foresee any challenges to the model, and what specific tasks would be most appropriate (and inappropriate) for students to perform. Finally, faculty were asked to contribute any additional comments regarding the potential implementation of the ëstudent development support' SOTI model @ WOU.

In light of the overwhelmingly positive response from both CWC and WOU faculty, a pilot implementation of the ëstudent development support' model will be implemented at WOU's Winter Online Teaching Initiative (WOTI'15) event on December 14th and 15th.

This ëEmerging Ideas Session' will present and explore the qualitative research findings from both the original Summer efforts as well as a ëfirst look' at the WOU WOTI'15 implementation. The Discussion of results, faculty and student testimonials, ongoing adjustments, and lessons learned from the experience should be of interest to anyone who is looking for new and innovative ways to support the design and development of meaningful and effective online learning experiences.