An Evidence-Based Framework for Building Robust Online Learning Programs

Concurrent Session 3
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

With COVID, were you scrambling to move programs online?  Searching for best practices? Wondering if what you were doing was effective?  In this session, the presenters will provide an evidence-based framework for building robust, sustainable online programs including faculty training,  leadership, and quality rubrics. 



Director of Online Learning Programs at U.Va. She is responsible for managing production for U.Va.'s partnership with Coursera. Her passion project is an outreach program with Africa that has provided over 24,000 scholarships and reached learners in every country on the continent. Before U.Va., she was successfully delivering enterprise technology projects for various companies including Walt Disney, Hewlett-Packard, eBay and Intuit. She joined U.Va. in 2011.
Dr. Lora Pilgrim builds institutional capacity in online learning through faculty development training, instructional design support and project management at the University of the West Indies, as an Online Learning Specialist in the Office of Online Learning. Her research interests include online learning leadership, the use of project management in instructional design, programme evaluation and the development of online doctoral programmes.

Extended Abstract

COVID-19 has forced many traditionally residential programs to move swiftly to online and hybrid learning environments.  A dizzying array of resources were shared on how to teach online effectively.  Many of the resources were anecdotal stories that were not evidence-based or scaleable.   Dozens of articles pointed people to hundreds of different websites.  Many schools quickly built continuity pages with links to resources and best practices. 


We are now moving into a new normal, from stop gap emergency remote teaching to more robust online teaching methods.  In this session, the presenters will provide a framework for building robust online environments that includes vision, governance, organizational structure, faculty training, curriculum, student support and quality rubrics.  Additionally, the presenters will provide evidence-based best practices based on decades of research.  Participants will walk away from this session with a framework that can be used to design robust online programs, a white paper on Community of Inquiry (CoI), and several handouts that have practical tips for building community, increasing teacher effectiveness, measuring quality of courses, and improving student learning.


Attendees will walk away from this session with: 

  • A clear understanding of the difference between emergency remote teaching and quality online teaching

  • A framework for building robust online programs: Vision, Governance, Organizational Structure, Faculty Training and Support, Curriculum, Student Support and Quality Rubrics

  • A white paper on the Community of Inquiry (CoI) research framework for online learning

  • Tip sheet: 20 Ways to Increase Social Presence in Online Courses

  • Tip sheet: 20 Ways to Increase Teaching Presence in Online Courses

  • Tip sheet: 20 Ways to Increase Cognitive Presence in Online Courses

  • The OLC Quality Course Teaching and Instructional Practice (QCTIP) Rubric