Innovation, Collaboration, and Advocacy: Strategies and Lessons Learned from Faculty Professional Development on Blended Learning

Watch This Session

Watch This Session

Brief Abstract

With exponential increases in blended learning in higher education, many of us face the challenge of supporting faculty in design and facilitation of blended courses for student success. Join us for a conversation about strategies and lessons learned from faculty professional development on blended learning through innovation, collaboration, and advocacy.   


Hong Wang is an educator and advocate for innovative pedagogy and technology integration in teaching to create engaging learning experience for students, with a focus on blended and online learning. She has worked in higher education for 20 years with extensive experience in course design, technology integration in teaching, and professional development for faculty in blended and online learning. Hong holds a doctorate in educational technology and serves as Associate Director of Instructional Technology Training at NOVA Online for Northern Virginia Community College, one of the largest community colleges in the United States. She has been managing the college's training program on blended learning and workshops related to online teaching. She enjoys collaborating with faculty and colleagues to build a community of effective practices in blended and online courses to support student success. She is also a certified Quality Matters Online Facilitator and Peer Course Reviewer. Hong has made numerous presentations at regional, national, and international conferences on educational technology and online learning.
Sherri currently serves as the Senior Executive Director of the Office of Digital and Online Learning at Coastal Carolina University. She is an Associated Faculty with the Psychology Department at CCU, and specializes in teaching senior-level classes in lifespan psychology, such as Child Development, Adolescent Development, and Gerontology. Sherri has served in academia within the field of online learning for over 20 years in the role of instructional designer, LMS administrator, faculty, and over the last decade plus as a university-level administrator. In addition to her work with Coastal, Sherri also serves the MERLOT organization as the Editor of the Professional Coaching board, as well as an editorial board member and peer reviewer for the Psychology MERLOT board. Her research focuses on methods for improving student success in the academic environment, to include all modalities of learning (online, face-to-face, hybrid, flipped, etc.) and inclusive design and tools. She has worked as a consultant for a number of organizations to support the development of online learning initiatives.

Extended Abstract

Blended learning, drawing from best practices in both online and face-to-face learning, is on the rise at colleges and universities. According to Campus Technology’s Teaching with Technology survey in 2018, 76% of faculty respondents reported using a mix of online and face-to-face environments to teach. The New Media Consortium Horizon Report (2017) has also identified blended learning design as a top trend to drive technology adoption in higher education.

Allen and Seaman (2016) categorized traditional, face-to-face teaching as having 0% of content delivered online and blended (or hybrid) teaching as having 30-79% of content delivered online. Blended learning is not just a ratio of delivery modalities, as many theories, campuses, and faculty define it with ranges different from Allen and Seamans; rather, blended or hybrid modalities are more a pedagogical approach to combine the best of both classroom and online learning environments. Blended learning is the “thoughtful integration of classroom face-to-face learning experiences with online learning experiences” (Garrison & Kanuka, 2004, p. 96).

Blended learning has many benefits from the perspectives of instructors, students, and institutions. Graham, Allen, and Ure (2005) described three general benefits of blended learning: 1) enhanced pedagogy and learning effectiveness, 2) increased access and flexibility, and 3) improved cost-effectiveness and resource use. Blended courses make instructors explore new and different ways to teach by integrating activities from both face-to-face and online learning environments. Blended learning may provide pedagogical benefits such as increased learning effectiveness, satisfaction and efficacy (Garrison & Kanuka, 2004; Graham, 2013). Blended learning provides students increased access to higher education offerings because of its convenience, less seat time, and a flexible schedule (Vaughan, 2007). Blended learning also save institutional resources such as classroom space and parking space, and thus make teaching and learning more cost-effective (Graham, 2013).

Dziuban, Hartman, and Moskal (2004) concluded that maximizing success in blended learning requires a planned and well-supported approach that includes a high-quality faculty development. For faculty who have never taught online, developing and supporting blended courses can be challenging as they need to build new technological and pedagogical skill sets for this teaching modality.  Research shows that professional development is crucial to prepare and support faculty to teach blended courses successfully. Likewise, due to the heavy demands on faculty in college and university environments for teaching, committee work, and academic/research activities, building out successful faculty development programs that can teach the required technological and pedagogical skills needed that are unique to blended learning requires creativity, incentivation, and other unique administrative approaches for making these trainings most accessible for faculty needs and time demands.

This session will showcase how two higher education institutions planned and developed high-quality faculty development training and support on blended learning to support the highest levels of faculty development and success. This sessions will highlight both the important strategies of best practices as well as the lessons we learned from our programs. Attendees will be provided with helpful resources that they may implement in their own educational environments for building and supporting a faculty development program in blended and hybrid course development. 

Level of Participation

This discovery session will be presented in a present-and-discuss format to interactively share and provide the opportunity to address questions and share ideas with participants. The session will first allow the presenters to share how the two institutions developed and provided a training program on blended learning to prepare faculty design blended courses and provide continued support. The presenters will also share the strategies and lessons learned from their practice. Finally, attendees will have time to ask questions and share relevant experience with everyone in the group, and will be provided take-away best practices.


Session Goals

After this discovery session, attendees will be able to identify how two institutions developed and provided training for faculty on blended learning in an innovative and collaborative approach. They will be able to apply strategies and lessons learned from these two institutions for advocacy to support faculty in blended learning at their own institutions. Finally, they will be able to collaborate with both the presenters as well as other attendees to discuss ideas on faculty support, training, and incentivation programs that have proven successful in their own blended courses, programs, and educational institution.   


Allen, E., & Seaman, J. (2016). Online report card: Tracking online education in the United States. Babson Survey Research Group and Quahog Research Group.

Dziuban, C., Hartman, J., and Moskal, P. (2004) Blended learning. Educause Center for Applied Research, Research Bulletin, 7, 1-12.

Garrison, D. R., & Kanuka, H. (2004). Blended learning: Uncovering its transformative potential in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 7(2), 95-105.

Graham, C. R., Allen, S., & Ure, D. (2005). Benefits and challenges of blended learning environments. In M. Khosrow-Pour (Ed.), Encyclopedia of information science and technology (253-259). Hershey, PA: Idea Group.

Graham, C. R. (2013). Emerging practice and research in blended learning. In M. J. Moore (Ed.), Handbook of distance education (3rd ed., pp. 333-350). New York, NY: Routledge.