Teaching at the Summit: Online Faculty Development

Concurrent Session 9

Brief Abstract

What does a flexible and responsive faculty development program to improve sound pedagogical online practices look like? This session will explore online faculty development for a variety of institutions. We will share the research, what we are doing that works, and the ideas that haven’t.


Ingrid Steiner is an Assistant Director in the University of Southern California's (USC) Center for Excellence in Teaching. Working in partnership with faculty, departments and schools on enhancing best practices in pedagogy, Ingrid has shared her expertise and passion for faculty development and student learning at national and international educational presentations. Holding graduate degrees in both humanities and online education, she also teaches art history and design history courses at the university level. She enjoys combining her interest in humanities education with both on-ground and online education, with particular focus on student motivation, relevancy, and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

Extended Abstract

Online instructors are a fast growing population of faculty in the academy. Like the majority of higher education faculty members, they bring a great deal of disciplinary knowledge to their students but often little experience in sound pedagogical practice. Many teach at multiple institutions or balance full time positions outside of academia. How can we create professional development opportunities which honor the time, resources, and communication channels necessary to support their pedagogical work? What does effective professional development opportunities that emphasize sound online pedagogical practice look like for these faculty members?

Although there is literature on faculty development programs, many publications focus on onground faculty's needs. While many institutions have adopted online education to support institutional growth and student needs, it is essential to realize that teaching online is a skill which must be developed in faculty.

This session is a chance to come together and do a deep dive into possible solutions to online faculty training offerings.  What intrinsic and extrinsic factors motivate online faculty? What do they perceive as their greatest needs? What modalities are best to deliver training? What has worked among the attendee’s institutions.

This session will be based in a professional sharing of effective online faculty development approaches. We will introduce ourselves, our institution and identify our most pressing online faculty development problem. We will spend time discussing current research in faculty development programs for those teaching online which address these pressing problems. There will be a scenario activity in which participants will be placed in small groups and given a scenario which might or might not be similar to their institution. The idea will be to brainstorm effective solutions for that scenario. This will allow a fresh, perspective without the usual biases of those who work in that environment. We will end the session with a wrap-up of and self-identification of two possible revisions or implementations to the attendee’s faculty development program.

By the end of this discussion, attendees will identify at least two online faculty development approaches which could be implemented or revised at their institution, generate new ideas for online development which are applicable to their home institution, and critique other’s online faculty development programs through the lens of their own experience. We will leave the session with ideas to assist online faculty to climb the mountain and eventually reach the summit to improve student learning.