The Online Faculty Academy Ascent

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Join us to explore the Online Faculty Academy we developed to meet the professional development needs of instructors who are adding online course authoring and facilitation to their vita. We’re excited to discuss our program development, program curricula, and how this program may be transferrable to your organizational training needs.


Julie Hewitt, PhD, EdS, PMP, CSPO, CSM is a learning and technology advocate. She is available for consulting and contract work related to training and education programming, curricular and operational assessment, and project management. Hewitt has almost 20 years of experience among higher education, K12 education, and training and development in industry. Hewitt's research interests include faculty development, teaching and learning, course design, and technology. Most recently Hewitt was with UW-Platteville where her diverse knowledge and skills with online faculty and course management, assessment, and research were leveraged. Hewitt was the lead on the Online Faculty Academy (OFA) and was collaborating with others on the exploration of Open Educational Resources (OER) and affordability. Prior to UW-Platteville, she served as a part of campus administration as a Dean of Student Services. Hewitt also has experiences in higher education as an Academic Program Director, an online graduate adjunct faculty member, and a face-to-face undergraduate faculty member. Her prior work experiences extend to the corporate world as a business and training systems analyst for a large aerospace company and K-12 public education as a secondary education teacher, coach, and district technology coordinator. Hewitt is a member of the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), the eLearning Guild, Project Management Institute (PMI), and the Scrum Alliance.

Extended Abstract

Join us to explore the Online Faculty Academy (OFA) we developed to meet the professional development needs of instructors who are adding online course authoring and facilitation to their vita. An opportunity was identified to close professional development gaps noted through operational assessment and in feedback different stakeholders of the online course design and delivery process. It is not uncommon to hear of organizations recognizing the need for new faculty orientation or training, while their solutions to addressing those needs differ. On-going training and support is another topic which surfaces, however, less seems to be documented in this area unless there is a significant change such as the learning management system or regulation. Through the OFA we have attempted to close existing gaps and create a continuum for training and support through new online faculty or author development through to on-going support as faculty continue their online course facilitation from term to term.

Engaging with conference peers and getting their feedback beyond that of participants and key stakeholders in our organization is important for continued progress and perspectives that can continue to provide insights or ideas to enrich our OFA program and training courses therein. These discussions will also benefit others who may be reviewing their own practices, exploring or evaluating outsourcing this professional development, or starting anew.

We are excited to discuss the development process used for the OFA and how it connects to the Ultimate Academic Experience (UAX) towards which we strive each day. Careful consideration has gone into the development of the program's curricula. Throughout the program courses evidence-based research is introduced and revisited. This research is the foundation upon which our organizational online course development and delivery practices have been built. In conjunction with the theory, a heavy emphasis is placed on practical knowledge and skill reinforcement making each training course experience relevant for direct application in the courses being taught and the educational experiences of which online faculty are a critical influencers.

Discovery Session Goals

Our aim through dialogue is that each session participant will walk away with valuable insights into how to better faculty development programs. Insights on how to identify gaps and what adjustments can be made to better align professional development programming with organizational needs in the area of online course authoring and facilitation will be emphasized.

Level of Participation

A short slide deck describing the topics noted below will be prepared along with a demo of the courses available. Information will be available electronically on the session topics noted below. We will also have available a one-page handout for reference during our discovery dialogue with you. When joining us, you will be encouraged to engage in conversation, ask questions, and provide constructive feedback on what we are sharing. Questions you can expect from us are: (1) what brought you to our discovery session, (2) what is your organization currently doing with online faculty development, and (3) what gaps have you/they identified to date.

Discovery Session Topics

  • OFA Program Development Process and Considerations
  • Current Program Curricula
    • Program Outcomes
      • Performance Indicators
    • Course Outcomes
      • Participant Assessment
      • Outcomes Alignment
  • Program Assessment
  • Lessons Learned
  • Opportunities
  • Next Steps

References (Partial List)