Moving an Undergraduate Teacher Preparation Program to fully online: The vital role Instructional Designers played in the process to help us achieve our goals.
Concurrent Session 6
Have you been tasked to design an online program? Have you faced challenges and roadblocks in doing so? Join us as we present our success in designing a fully online undergraduate program pairing content expert faculty with innovative instructional designers producing an engaging and rich online student experience.
The explosion of student use of technologies and desire for online learning provides a rich opportunity to capture activity and learner-produced data. The undergraduate Educational Studies program at the University of La Verne has the responsibility of preparing and producing aspiring educators who can engage students in digitally rich learning environments. While our traditional classroom courses have increasingly included innovative use of technology, we experienced a missed opportunity by not offering a fully online undergraduate teacher preparation program.
Data has shown that our students desire the flexibility and convenience of taking their courses fully online. Despite the marked increase in a desire for more online course offerings, some obstacles exist in online classes. A review of recent literature indicated a need to study the challenges faced by faculty who teach online courses and the need to better understand what constitutes quality online education.
Skeptics in the field of higher education have slowed the development of an online undergraduate teacher preparation program. The fear that learning online without the face to face interaction of student to student and student to instructor would not fully prepare our students for the Teacher Education Program. It was our goal to provide a fully engaging online program which would prepare the students equally as if they took the courses in a face to face classroom. By employing and working directly with Instructional Designers, faculty were able to successfully re-design and develop the courses. Relying on the ID’s knowledge of best practices in online learning, instructional strategies, methods and assessment tools, we completed the re-design process and launched our first fully online cohort in the fall of 2017.
To capture our experience in moving from a face to face to a fully online Educational Studies program, we used a form of self-reflection and writing that explored our personal experiences. In the process we chronicled how we begin to address the challenges in online teaching and how we overcome those challenges to meet the needs of the 21st century learner. Our study describes how we applied constructivist concepts solely online. In face-to- face delivery any problems such as incomplete content and incorrect instruction can be addressed and rectified on the spot, especially if a lecturer is experienced. It is very different from the content design for e-learning, because it has to accommodate the searchable, configurable, reusable and interoperable functions. We know that a well-designed curriculum for online learning nurtures both student learning and student retention. The Instructional Designers at our institution played an integral role in our efforts by establishing processes for effective online learning, templating digital learning objects and modules for quality, defining clear work flows and decision junctures, adhering to standards of legality and ethics, and applying wise leadership and project management. This was powerful in the development and refinement of quality curricula.
We understand that providing a resourceful and supportive learning environment has a significant impact on students’ learning success. Our model was based on Chen”s (2007) (http://www.ncolr.org/jiol/issues/pdf/6.1.6.pdf) Support-based Online Learning Environment (Learning tasks, Technology and Technical Support, Content and Learning Support and People and Social Support) which incorporates resources, a supportive learning environment, as well as online tools to bring the students to work in a collaborative nature, consistent with the face to face Educational Studies program.
This presentation will discuss the strategies used and challenges faced in our conversion to a fully online format. We’ll discuss our relationship with the Instructional Designers which resulted in a supportive, engaging and rich online experience for the students. The goal of our presentation is to provide attendees with a snapshot of the process while highlighting the benefits of the partnership that was formed between the faculty and Instructional Designers.
The presentation format is as follows:
5 min - Brief opening to describe goals of the session. Poll participants on their role and ask them to record 2 -3 questions they would like addressed.
25 min - Presentation
5 min - relfection on presentation content to develop questions or reflect on previously recorded questions
10 min - Q & A using an interactive polling app (i.e. Swift/Meeting Pulse/Slido) to allow for anonymous participation. We will ask attendees to include questions not answered in presentation. Upvoting and downvoting will take place to choose popular questions for discussion.