Faculty Training, Support, & Incentivizing in Online, Hybrid, and & Flex Courses in a University Setting: Pitfalls & Best Practices

Concurrent Session 2

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Brief Abstract

Providing critical support, training, and incentives to faculty in teaching is crucial to students’ outcomes as well as faculty member’s & administration’s willingness to commit to online, hybrid, and flex course formats. No greater workforce innovation exists than one focused on equipping faculty to serve today’s students, through today’s methods.


Dr. Sherri Restauri has served in academia for 17 years. During this time, she has served as an instructional designer, faculty member in the field of psychology and other areas, and also as an administrator over Online Learning at several universities. Dr. Restauri joined the Coastal Office of Online Learning as their Director in July 2016. Her research focus is on improving the teaching and learning process across all teaching modalities through the use of technology, with specific interest in pedagogical practices to increase student engagement, and best practices in online pedagogy.

Extended Abstract

Across 3 separate higher education institutions, the author has played a primary role in developing and advancing the faculty training and support units and culture of acceptance toward online, hybrid, and what are now called flex courses on traditional college campuses. These experiences have included but are not limited to:

  • Developing full programs of training for faculty centered around the campus LMS
  • Developing online trainings for faculty on pedagogical topics related to teaching and learning, such as accessibility, copyright, and more
  • Training faculty in face-to-face and well as online, and group as well as individual settings
  • Evaluating, assessing, and modifying training for faculty in all formats
  • Developing, implementing, administering, and revising faculty incentive programs focused on course development and separately, course quality in both online and hybrid formats
  • Development and collaboration/oversight of a faculty-composed, representative campus body to guide OL and related decision-making, and to represent faculty needs and interests
  • Serving as a faculty member; an instructional designer; and for the last decade +, as an administrator responsible for the growth and support of Online Learning programs

Workforce Innovation in Higher Education exists around the faculty, staff, and administration of a campus. Providing layers of critical development and on-going support, training, and incentives to faculty in their teaching online, hybrid, and flex classes is crucial to so many outcomes—to our students’ learning, to our faculty member’s willingness to commit to these formats, and even to our administration’s acknowledgement of the value of these modalities of learning within our institutions. No greater workforce innovation relating to training exists than one focused on best equipping our faculty to serve today’s students, through today’s methods, in Higher Education.

From serving as an administrator as well as Instructional Designer at liberal arts, teaching-focused institutions to a top-tier R1 research-focused institution, cultures for faculty support and teaching-centered incentive provision change drastically. Experience has noted that successful programmatic implementation differs based on a set number of factors on these campuses, which also change significantly based on the type of campus an administrator, instructional designer, dean, chair, or faculty member finds ourselves in. Lessons learned have been enormous, and take-aways 17 years into working in Online Learning within Higher Education, the author hopes to share these Best Practices, Lessons Learned, and to open up the opportunity to learn from attendees on their own experiences, as well. Attendees will be provided with copies of best practices, and will also be encouraged to participate in a larger discussion surrounding these critical topics of faculty support and incentives, conducted via Google Groups during and after the OLC Innovate conference.