Meeting Faculty Where They Are: A Three Track Solution to Quality Online and Hybrid Course Design

Concurrent Session 3

Session Materials

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Brief Abstract

This session shares the three-track faculty development model implemented at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) to both address varying knowledge levels of faculty related to instructional technologies and engage faculty in effective uses of these technologies to enhance the quality of their hybrid and online course designs.

Presenters

Dr. Sherri N. Braxton is the Senior Director of Instructional Technology at UMBC where she is responsible for leading the Division of Information Technology’s (DoIT) strategy for end-user support of instructional technologies including online, hybrid, and traditional, “face-to-face” technologies. With over 20 years of experience in traditional classroom instruction and adult education strategies grounded in instructional design models, she also possesses over 17 years of experience using learning technologies in higher education settings, including the design and facilitation of online and hybrid courses. Dr. Braxton is a dynamic presenter known for her ability to engage audiences and capture their attention, even for highly complex topics. She collaborates with her staff to devise learning opportunities delivered in multiple modes that meet the varied and shifting needs of both UMBC faculty and students. Dr. Braxton is also the DoIT representative on the University System of Maryland (USM) Academic Transformation Advisory Council, a group spearheaded by the William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation. Dr. Braxton has crafted a national presence through her participation in educational technology associations like EDUCAUSE, the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), and the IMS Global Learning Consortium; in addition to presenting at national, regional, and local conferences, she serves as a proposal reviewer, constituent group leader, leadership institute faculty, and both task force leader and working group participant. Dr. Braxton earned a Doctor of Science in Computer Science with Minors in Educational Leadership and Management Science from the George Washington University. She also holds a Master of Science in Computer Science with a Math Minor from North Carolina State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science from Wake Forest University.

Extended Abstract

This presentation will provide an overview of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County's (UMBC) three-track Alternate Delivery Program and will describe how this program evolved from its single-track origins to the current format to address 3 faculty skill levels:  Skill Builder, Course Designer and Quality Booster.

Since 2005, the Office of Summer, Winter & Special Programs has encouraged academic departments to offer hybrid and online courses as an alternative to in-person courses. The number of hybrid and online courses offered in the special sessions has grown steadily, and currently, 30 – 40% of the courses scheduled in summer or winter sessions are hybrid or online.

Over 70 faculty members from a variety of disciplines have participated in UMBC’s Alternate Delivery Program (ADP).  The ADP provides financial, technical, and pedagogical support to faculty who agree to redesign an existing face-to-face (F2F) course for online or hybrid (part online, part F2F) delivery in summer or winter session.

From 2005 to 2014, ADP supported only faculty who could demonstrate pre-existing knowledge of the learning management system and other instructional technology tools required to design and deliver an online or hybrid course. Faculty worked independently but had opportunity to seek assistance by consulting with an instructional technology specialist.  In 2014, the program was modified in that faculty were assigned an instructional technologist to act as their ongoing consultant throughout the process. These faculty participants were also now required to attend a two-day workshop and two milestone meetings during their development semester. Their efforts also now culminated in a Quality Matters (QM) review of their course by their instructional technologist and a presentation of their redesigned course by the faculty during an open session.

In AY2015-2016, the ADP program evolved once more. The original ADP track was renamed the “Course Designer” track, and two new tracks were created. The “Skill Builder” track addresses the needs of those faculty members just getting started with instructional technology.  This track offers modular training in core components of the learning management system and supporting technologies (e.g., video conferencing tools, screencasting tools, cloud-based storage) to help faculty better utilize the features available in the learning management and to prepare for the Course Designer track. The “Quality Booster” track is designed for faculty who are already offering hybrid or online courses, but who have either not previously participated in formal course redesign training through the ADP or participated in ADP prior to the QM process integration. The goal is to carefully evaluate the components of their existing hybrid or online course to ensure that it meets nationally identified quality standards.

 

Through this 3-track model, our instructional technology staff is able to meet the needs of our faculty with varying skill levels interested in designing and offering quality online and hybrid courses.

 

In this session, the presenter will use a web-based response system to poll the audience with multiple types of questions including open-ended feedback. Questions will poll participants on the types of strategies used to support online/hybrid faculty, barriers to providing faculty support, and challenges in engaging faculty in this type of professional development.

 

As a result of participating in this session, participants will be able to:

·      Outline the process of designing and implementing a track-based training program

·      Identify resources required to support an on-going faculty development program

·      Identify possible barriers and challenges that may arise and strategies to overcome them