Ramping Up Skills to Meet the COVID Challenge: Lessons from an Online Teaching Training Program
Concurrent Session 2
Responding to the spring COVID-19 shift to an all-virtual campus, our institution focused on quickly ramping up online teaching skills. This session shares design principles and lessons learned from a rapidly created summer online teaching training program. Partnership between the academic technology team and faculty created enhanced readiness.
In response to COVID-19 our institution announced a shift to virtual campus one week prior to our scheduled spring break, asking students not to return to campus and faculty to pivot all course teaching to fully online. As we considered the implications ahead, we quickly realized the need for enhanced online teaching training. While a level of expertise existed among some of our nearly 200 full time faculty, stop-gap training happened in order to facilitate the spring pivot. At the same time, we planned to survey both students and faculty on their “spring pivot” experience in order to learn what else would need to be addressed to prepare for fall 2020. The result was the OTTP program: a two-week online teaching training program, in a cohorted model by learning level, accompanied by a faculty and academic technology mentor team. This program ran three times, training 276 individuals, including 90% of the full time faculty, a large proportion of the adjunct faculty, and staff with teaching or training roles.
This session will share design principles and lessons learned. Key design principles included: putting the participant in the role of a student; cohorting by learning level while creating opportunities for conversation across cohorts; a blended learning model that mixed synchronous and asynchronous learning activities; providing choices to allow customization to the participant’s needs; optional opportunities for peer learning conversations. Key lessons learned included: the value of having a dedicated academic technology team; the benefit of teaching technology tools in connection with pedagogy; the power of peer-to-peer sharing; the ways in which training can create shared connection; the ways in which training can strengthen faculty-technologist relationships; and how to incentivize faculty participation without making training mandatory.
The OTTP was sponsored by the Dean of the College who also participated in the program. The initiative enabled the acceleration of faculty development around online teaching skills, facilitating the institution’s ability to be responsive to the context of the global pandemic.
This session will be presented by the program designers who also served as cohort mentors for the program. In addition, we will hear the perspective of participants who are early and later career teachers. Our goal for this session is to offer one model of how to create high-impact online teaching training and then open the discussion for consideration of other strategies. Attendees will be encouraged to consider how this model might be adapted for their own context and institutional needs.We plan to reserve plenty of time for questions and answers so that attendees can probe any details of interest and the presenters can offer suggestions for how others might implement future training of this kind.