What is it like to switch your role from an online instructor to that of an online student? Is a 12-week workshop enough time to impact an instructor’s teaching toolkit or transform an institution’s online course quality? These are among the questions that you’ll want to consider before enrolling in the OLC’s Advanced Online Teaching Certificate Program.
Being in the role of an online student is an eye-opening experience, especially when we join a class cohort of sharp, savvy colleagues from around the country. The weekly live sessions offer an opportunity to build upon the relationships that develop in the peer-to-peer asynchronous discussions. We are challenged to dig deeper into examining and reflecting on how we teach, who we teach, and why we teach. As expected, the workshop has requirements that must be met to earn the points needed to earn the certificate; and this structure reminds us of how our students feel when they eagerly await feedback on their performance in class and what it’s like to accomplish coursework in a short time-frame along with their other career, family, and personal responsibilities.
Among the many valuable learning experiences in the Advanced Online Teaching Certificate program, participants “sharpen their saws” in terms of scrutinizing a course that they are currently teaching and analyzing what could be improved in both course design and student engagement. In addition, the workshop encourages us to look into some of the latest digital tools that we haven’t had the time to explore until now. Sharing active learning strategies and new multimedia/social media tools among the cohort multiplies the number of new ideas that we can take back to our institutions.
The workshop is organized into learning units that are models for our own course design. In addition to the embedded learning materials, there are a wealth of supplemental resources made available for up to one year after completing the Advanced Online Teaching Certificate Program to share with others in our field. These are curated, high-quality materials such as:
- Ideas for Creating an Effective Syllabus for Online Learning
- What 6 Colleges Learned about Improving their Online Classes
- How Do Students Learn from Participation in Class Discussion?
- ADA Compliance for Online Course Design
The 12 weeks fly by, and we go forward with a concrete plan for taking the next steps towards implementing the course improvements that we developed and for sharing the new knowledge, tips, tools, and strategies with fellow faculty, instructional designers, and administrators of our online programs. When our next teaching session begins, we can relate better to our own online students now that we have been reminded of the challenges and rewards of being an online learner in the OLC’s Advanced Online Teaching Certificate Program; and we have a certificate and digital badge to brag about!
Andrea Henne, EdD
Professor, Liberal Arts & Sciences