Open SUNY 'Interested in Teaching Online?': A Large-Scale Free Self-Paced Openly Licensed Online Faculty Readiness Resource

Concurrent Session 7
Streamed Session

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

The Open SUNY Online Teaching unit has developed a free self-paced openly-licensed resource for anyone interested in the fundamentals of online teaching. As an OLC Innovate 2018 effective practice winner, this tool is shared as resource for the OLC community to adopt, or adapt. No need to reinvent the wheel!


Extended Abstract

An Overview of the Session

This session is intended to engage and inform those that support and develop online faculty and online courses by facilitating reflection on the following questions, and sharing the openly licensed self-paced Interested in Teaching Online? resource that we developed to respond to these challenges:

  1. How do we get faculty interested in teaching online?
  2. How can we help those who may be interested in teaching online determine if online teaching is a good fit for them?
  3. How do we systematically and consistently reach a very large diverse audience with a positive comprehensive overview of teaching online?
  4. What are the core competencies necessary for success in teaching online?
  5. How can we ensure that prospective online faculty have a common set of the requisite technical skills to be successful in an online environment?
  6. How can we promote a common understanding of online education within our own institution and establish common language and definitions with which to talk about online education within our institutional context?
  7. How can we address skepticism, assumptions, and dispel common misconceptions regarding online learning?
  8. How can we introduce an overview of the various online pedagogies and models of online course development, faculty development that exist?
  9. How can we promote an understanding of the benefits and affordances of the online teaching and learning environment?
  10. How can we support online instructional designers to be most effective in their online faculty professional development activities?
  11. How can we assist those that support online faculty or students to understand what is relevant and unique in online education?

This educate and reflect session will start out by posing these questions to session participants for individual reflection. The audience will be broken up into 4 quadrants, with each quadrant tacking 2-3 of the questions so that each group focuses on a different set of questions. A shared google doc will be used to collect and share participant responses to this rapid 5-minute reflection activity. The quadrants will then be broken up into small groups of 3-5 participants to review and discuss (10 minutes) the responses from the other groups.

The general presentation will resume with a 20-minute introduction and tour of the openly-licensed online self-paced Interested in Teaching Online? resource, whose aim is to provide an entry point for anyone interested in online teaching that lowers barriers and provides a way to address online faculty readiness, self-assess the necessary fundamental technical skills, dispel misperceptions, and to provide online faculty, staff, and student perspectives on effective online teaching.

The session will end with a 10-minute Q&A and group discussion where participants will be encouraged to consider options for adoption and ask questions about the implementation of this open resource.



An Overview of the Resource

 Interested in teaching online? is essentially a website collection of resources including:

  • An overview of online education.
  • A set of self-assessment inventories designed to identify gaps that need to be filled before proceeding with any online faculty development/course design activities.
  • Definitions of common terms for establishing a common language and understanding about online teaching and learning.
  • Videos, interviews/testimonials from online faculty and students from multiple campuses across multiple disciplines (to showcase benefits, breadth of disciplines, address assumptions and misconceptions).
    • Student Videos: 1. Videos of students to expose faculty to the perspective of online learners (reasons for taking an online course) 2. Video tips for student success - from the students! (online student readiness) 3. Video tips for faculty from students.
    • Videos of exemplar faculty discussing the typical questions and concerns faculty have who are new to online teaching or course development.
    • Videos with exemplar online faculty discussing their best practices and suggestions for novice faculty.
    •  Interviews of faculty discussion the design decisions they made in the design of their first online course and lessons learned.
  • Showcase of exemplar online courses from multiple campuses across multiple disciplines. Opportunities to view exemplar online courses.
  • Discussion forums to interact with others interested, exemplars and experts to ask questions about online teaching and learning experiences, design decisions, etc.

Interested in Teaching Online? A free openly licensed self-paced online resource designed to:

  • Help prospective online faculty check their readiness to be successful teaching online.
  • Help others understand what it takes to be successful online.
  • Review common terms related to online teaching and learning.
  • Identify the fundamental competencies needed to teach online.
  • Explain the value of applied effective online teaching practices.
  • Provide an overview of benefits and affordances of teaching online.
  • Help prospective online faculty determine if online teaching is right for them.
  • Provide an introduction to a Community of Practice with opportunities to meet others interested in online teaching and learning, network, ask questions, get help, and share interests in online teaching and learning.

It is intended for anyone interested in learning more about online teaching: faculty, administrators, deans/department chairs, librarians, technologists, faculty developers, instructional designers, online student support staff, etc.

There are 2 ways to engage with this self-paced resource. You have the option of following a more structured Mapped Out Journey, or you can explore all the same content by following your own Meandering Way. Both options are self-paced - meaning you complete the activities in the course on your own, at your own pace.

In the Mapped out Journey you are provided with a formal path that guides you step by step in a logical way through the materials, activities and assessments.   You begin with some Online Faculty Readiness activities, complete several self-assessments and view several videos for an overview of the basics in online teaching and to check your technical skills. A handy checklist helps you track your progress and completion of the readiness activities. You then follow the path through 3 consecutive modules that will give you a solid overview of the fundamentals in the online teaching landscape, competencies, and effective practices. Each module begins with an overview, and is followed by a series of topics, and an opportunity to check your understanding. You can view and review the materials and take the module quizzes as many times as you like.

The Meandering Way is not structured. Informally, you can browse the course content and pages just like a website – click on any page or link that interests you. You can review the materials and complete the activities at your own pace in any order you like. You can skip around, or skip topics with which you are already familiar. You can skip right to the module quizzes to confirm your understanding of the fundamentals if you like. Like with the Mapped out Journey you can view and review any of the course materials and take the module quizzes as many times as you like.

Both options cover all the same content, information, and have the same resources and opportunities to engage in optional conversations and for assessment to check your understanding along the way.

  • A checklist is provided to track progress toward completion.
  • An optional opportunity to connect with others interested in learning more about online teaching and to engage with experts in our online teaching community of practice is also facilitated.
  • A badge is offered for completing the review of the materials and activities in the resource. Once you have completed your review of the resource, you can collect a badge.
  • A poster has been produced to provide campuses, distance learning units, faculty development units, online instructional designers with a means to promote awareness of the resource.

Since its launch on October 30, 2017 we have had 7,619 users engage with the resource from 470 locations nationwide, and 46 foreign countries including Canada, Brazil, Paraguay, Ireland, Finland, Belgium, UK, NZ, Austria, Australia, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Chile, India, Lebanon, Japan, Switzerland, South Africa, Mexico, Malta, Indonesia, and Germany. We have delivered 5 free webinars providing an overview of the resource to promote awareness, and have averaged 45 unique attendees at each session from across the country. 31 badges have been formally issued thus far, and there has been 5,221 clicks/activity on the badge. Badges are only awarded if the participant provides the following evidence of their learning or effort/completion of the following:

The evidence required to collect the badge is:

  1. Becoming an Open SUNY Fellow in the interested or friend of SUNY roles.
  2. Joining the Open SUNY online networking community.
  3. Joining the "Interested in Online-Enabled Education" conversation group.
  4. Providing a brief reflection on what you learned from engaging with the materials and activities in the resource.

Additional Links FYI: