News You Can Use

Check out Sloan-C Institute's Blended Learning Mastery Series - Next session starts August 16, 2013.

Recordings from our 11/29/12 "Five Tips on How to Submit a Successful Conference Proposal"

Save the Dates

22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

Direct From the Source: Faculty Learning Community Perspectives on Blended Course Development

Joyce M Kincannon (Virginia Commonowealth University, US)
Joanne M. Huebner (Virginia Commonwealth University, US)
Additional Authors
Yin Wah Kreher (Virginia Commonwealth University, US)
Deborah Cowles (Virginia Commonwealth University, US)
Brendan Dwyer (Virginia Commonwealth University, US)
Lisa Flemming (Virginia Commonwealth University, US)
Robert Godwin-Jones (Virginia Commonwealth University, US)
Lisse Hildebrandt (Virginia Commonwealth University, US)
Jason Levy (Virginia Commonwealth University, US)
Oliver Speck (Virginia Commonwealth University, US)
Session Information
July 8, 2013 - 2:00pm
Faculty Development and Support
Areas of Special Interest: 
Innovative Blends
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Executive A/B
Session Duration: 
50 Minutes
Information Session 2

Faculty Learning Community members illustrate the impact of multi-faceted faculty development on their own showcased blended course designs and resource curation. BYOD for Q&A

Extended Abstract

Since its inception in the Fall of 2000, the Center for Teaching Excellence has focused on both teaching effectiveness and student learning through faculty development. Two key components of this focus are: 1) promoting a community of teacher-scholars where the theory and practice of teaching and learning are valued, shared and sustained and 2) providing leadership in the discussion, development, and implementation of teaching and learning in an online environment with attention to the varied perspectives of Administration, Faculty and Students. Faculty development is grounded in the theories of learning, but is also supportive of the varying degrees of ‘blending' required in various disciplines and at various points in a learner's educational career.

CTE invited our 2012 faculty to join a Faculty Learning Community (FLC) for the express purpose of learning about the current research describing Blended Learning as a design strategy for courses. The response was overwhelming. We organized two groups of faculty according to compatibility of schedules. These two groups began their conversations by reviewing current research describing the principles and guidelines that frame blended teaching and learning. We explored several blended design models and a range of university-wide issues, focusing on the areas of assessment and feedback, building community, faculty culture, and course design models, specifically:

  • What new pedagogies are required for blended course design? What are the strategies for diagnosing learning, giving feedback to students, and designing formal assessment in a blended course?
  • What are the effects on faculty teaching load? How does large enrollment affect your decisions? What types of scheduling and logistics best support a "flipped classroom"?
  • What are the best tools for supporting group cohesion, collaboration, communication, feedback, and assessment? What is the role of social media?
  • What are ways to inform and change attitudes and perspectives of both students and faculty toward using technology to support learning? Does a level of digital media literacy play a role?
  • What does research tell us that will inform the next steps for getting hesitant faculty [and students] involved in creating blended or online courses?

One FLC group decided to apply their research review to course development using biweekly FLC meetings to discuss their progress while developing and teaching their newly blended courses. The second group used their investigation of Blended Learning research to create an online faculty guide to synthesize research literature and best practices into a useful resource for the thoughtful development of a blended course.

A CTE consultant will introduce the Center's portfolio of programs offered to faculty for teaching and development support. However, the Faculty Learning Community will be the focus of the presentation and will include comments from the members themselves. Onsite attendance at the conference is not feasible for most of our Faculty Learning Community members. We will therefore present by blending in-person and virtual presence.

Presentation Goals
This presentation intends to showcase:

  • the impact of multi-faceted faculty development from the faculty perspective.
  • the support experienced while engaging in a Blended Learning FLC.
  • a variety of approaches to blended course design and
  • the web-based faculty resource guide developed through creative collaboration.

We will begin with an overview of the supporting programs offered by the Center as part of our "faculty development model." This portfolio of programs engage faculty who are choosing to make changes in their own teaching practice.

Most of the faculty in the FLCs had participated in another Center program: Small grants, New Faculty Orientation, Online Course Development Initiative, Preparing to Teach Online course, Mentorship Group, Ed Tech Collective, Learning Paths, and the Online Learning Summit Conference.

While these programs do include "blended" course development support as part of an "online" initiative, the FLCs are specifically focused on the development and teaching of blended courses as demonstrations of future faculty development programming in this delivery mode.

Active Research
Faculty members who developed blended courses will provide summaries of lessons learned by participating in the Learning Community to redesign their courses. Each participant had similar design concerns and issues when deciding which parts of our courses would work better by moving them online, and which activities would most lend themselves to face-to-face interaction. Each responded with different solutions because of our varied discipline learning goals. We will share our personal experience with the blended learning design process and how CTE's approach to faculty development and support scaffolded our learning process. We will recount in short vignettes our decision-making process and our students' response to the changes.

Our FLC participants come from the fields of Business Marketing, Intercultural Communication, Cinema and Language, Sports Leadership, English Second Language, Adult Learning, Elementary Teacher Education, and Emergency Management. Each of these faculty was supported by mentors and colleagues as they chose different strategies, platforms, open resources and development solutions to redesign their courses.

Open Resources
The Blended Learning Design Resource Guide, developed by our second Faculty Learning Community, will be shared as an open resource. Their community learning process will also be discussed.

Audience Engagement
Those faculty who cannot attend in person will participate virtually or recorded video. We will facilitate audience discussion through a Twitter backchannel. We intend to create engagement with our different participatory modalities. We expect audience participants to gain from our active research of applying blended learning principles to several diverse courses and we will gain from a commentary on our experiences.

Lead Presenter

Joyce joined the Center for Teaching Excellence in 2011 as an instructional designer. Her role is to support faculty as they learn the strategies and perspectives of online teaching. Her work at CTE is consulting with faculty who are developing online courses and programs. She helps facilitate the Center's programs for faculty, Designing Quality Online Courses and Preparing to Teach Online and presents strategies for teaching in several on-campus workshops.

Her BS is in Elementary Education from Central Missouri State University, with a second major in Secondary Mathematics from the University of Nebraska. She earned a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University, focusing on the use of computer technology to teach. Her doctorate is from Florida State University in Instructional Systems Design. Her research continues to focus on the changes faculty must make to teach in an online environment. Joyce has been teaching mathematics, media production, project management and instructional design in both K-12 and university classrooms and programs.