Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale: Development of an interactive, baseline professional development initiative

Concurrent Session 4
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Brief Abstract

(To the tune of The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle)

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale
a tale of a fateful trip,
that started from a virus,
that grew to epidemic.

It caused everything to close,
All schools had to go online
All faculty needed to be trained,
How would that fly?
Come hear how & why!

Presenters

I am the Managing Instructional Designer at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY and adjunct instructor for Clarkson's Education Department. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Technical Communications, minor in Psychology, from Clarkson University and a Master of Education in Instructional Design from the University of Massachusetts - Boston. I have been working in online higher education for over 17 years and have experience as an Instructional Designer, Multimedia Instructional Designer, Instructional Systems Engineer, facilitator, and faculty member. Some areas of focus have been multimedia creation, accessibility, Quality Matters, project management, and faculty and staff professional development. I am certified in Accessible Information Technology, Quality Matters (QM) Master Reviewer, QM Face-to-Face Facilitator, and QM Online Facilitator and also am an OLC Online Facilitator.
As the senior instructional designer at Clarkson University in New York State, my passion is creating engaging, diverse teaching and learning experiences for students and faculty. I am recognized as an Open SUNY Fellow Expert Online Instructional Designer and am also a certified Quality Matters Master Reviewer; I have reviewed or observed hundreds of online and blended course using various checklists including the OSCQR. I am a member of the MERLOT Teacher Education Editorial Board and a MERLOT Peer Reviewer Extraordinaire. Since earning my NYS teacher certification and a Master’s degree in Educational Computing from Buffalo State College in 2000, I have enjoyed teaching in higher education. Also I have had the pleasure of using my entrepreneurial skills to start several businesses, the most recent being Mobile Tech Mentor, computing services for those who need a little help. I have presented at a wide variety of venues over the last 15 years or so, such as Moodle Moot, Quality Matters, ADEIL, Online Learning Consortium, Sloan-C International Online Learning, Sloan-C Blending Learning, eLearning Consortium of Colorado Conference, SUNY Online Learning Summit (SOL) (DOODLE), Teaching and Learning with Technology Conference (TLT) and the Conference on Instructional Technologies on topics such as Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale: Development of an interactive, baseline professional development initiative ; Our Moodle Template: Who, what, why and how?; Building a Bridge to Success: Meeting Your Students Where They Are; Enhance Your Online Course and Engage Your Students with Video; Add Zest to the Final Project!; Adventures in Energy Course Redesign: Can You Say Solar Photovoltaic?; Online Course Quality; Emerging Technologies for Online Learning and Opening the Gate: How You and Your Students Will Benefit from Open Educational Resources; Course Redesign Made Easy with SoftChalk; Using Macromedia Captivate to Create Online Tutorials, and Small Business Development – Online Environment & Program Level Quality and more.

Extended Abstract

(To the tune of The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle)

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale
a tale of a fateful trip,
that started from a virus,
that grew to epidemic.

It caused everything to close,
All schools had to go online
All faculty needed to be trained,
How would that fly?
We’ll tell you by and by...

The ID Team then built a course,
For the faculty to take.
Now that we are through the term...
Was it a make or break?
Was it a make or break?

In Spring of 2020, COVID hit the world and changed online education forever. Every institution dealt with it and continues to deal with it in their own way. We’ve made a significant institutional change in regards to our knowledge base and experience level of online education.

When COVID hit and we pivoted to remote instruction, our instructional design team immediately began to deploy professional development webinars for our faculty on different online education topics. These webinars were widely attended and successful, so we knew there was a need and desire for more. We thought about how higher education may not be back to “normal” for quite awhile and how we could improve our faculty and students’ experiences with the online education that we would offer in the near future. 

We had never engaged our faculty so widely in online education training, as most of our courses have historically been face-to-face. How could we provide an experience for faculty that would be more structured and thorough, and would allow our faculty to hit the ground running for both summer and fall online and blended courses? How would we get them to participate in such an experience and find it useful? What could we do that was innovative? How could we engage faculty together, across programs, departments, and schools?

Time was short! Conversations with our Provost proved that our thoughts on providing a baseline of skills in online education to all faculty was an emergency institutional goal. We immediately jumped into planning a workshop, and upon the Provost’s approval of the plan, we proceeded to build and deploy the workshop to the first cohort within the next few weeks. We called this workshop RISE (Reframing Instruction for Success Everywhere).

Many challenges drove the structure, content, and management of this 6-week workshop for faculty. Some of these challenges are common to many professional development initiatives at many institutions, which is why we want to share this project with others. 

Some of these challenges included: 

  • designing for a very diverse participant base;

  • supporting an interactive workshop with assessments for several hundred faculty members;

  • balancing time that could be devoted to the workshop by both the participants and facilitators, and;

  • deciding on the most critical content & skills to be covered. 

For example, when it came to our participant base, with the goal being to train all faculty, there are varied skill, comfort, and confidence levels in online learning, technology, and course development. At the least skilled level, we set out to train professor emeriti who had never taught with any technology but who are now valued adjuncts, all the way up to those faculty that had previously taught several online courses but may have some holes we could fill. We needed to reach faculty from each of our campuses, majors, departments, programs, and schools.

How did it go? Make or break? You decide!

During this presentation, we will tell the story from start to finish (and beyond) of this professional development initiative. We will showcase our plan, discuss challenges, outline management and recap with statistics, reflections, and evidence. We will ask presentation participants to interact by voting and engaging in discussion at different points in the presentation on whether they see our initiative as being successful and something they could implement at their own institution. 

Participants will also walk away from the presentation with a tangible professional development project planning aid document they can use to plan a future training initiative in online education.

By the end of this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Determine whether a workshop style similar to RISE would fit with their institution’s needs

  • Develop a tailored workshop project plan

  • Prioritize training content based upon their specific institutional needs

  • Use the RISE workshop data for comparison analysis