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Breaking the Faculty Engagement Wall with Technology

Himani Trivedi (DeVry Education Group, USA)
Gio Duarte (DeVry Education Group, USA)
Daniel Clary (Integrated Education Solutions, USA)
Session Information
October 14, 2015 - 11:45am
Faculty and Professional Development & Support
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Northern Hemisphere C
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 1

We will identify key obstacles in faculty engagement and showcase tools and technology to overcome those obstacles and improve faculty satisfaction in online classroom.

Extended Abstract

- Identify barriers of student engagement in the online classroom.
- Describe strategies to enable faculty to create interactive self-check exercises within the online classroom.
- Describe strategies to improve faculty presence in the online classroom.
- Describe strategies to increase faculty engagement and feedback within the online classroom.

In this presentation, we will identify key obstacles and share strategies related to faculty engagement in the online classroom. We will also showcase tools and technology that are available to our faculty to overcome those obstacles. We will share strategies and technology that are implemented at DeVry Education Group that break down barriers to engagement and increase student and faculty engagement during their online experiences. The presentation will focus on authentic technology tools that have been utilized to improve faculty interaction with students as well as other faculty. The audience will get an opportunity to check out our award-winning effective practice "Sidebar" and responsive interactive generator "TYK" to increase faculty engagement and empowerment within the online classroom. Demonstrations and screenshots from real courses will be presented.

Student and faculty engagement is an essential element in a successful online classroom. Student satisfaction and faculty satisfaction are closely aligned with each other and highly depend on engagement. Research indicates that the effective integration of appropriate technologies and tools in the online classroom engages faculty and ultimately improves student engagement.

We will identify three main barriers impacting faculty and student engagement in online classrooms.
1. Social
2. Administrative
3. Motivational

We will then present strategies to overcome these barriers. We will share three primary strategies and technology tools that have been implemented at DeVry Education Group.
1. Faculty created interactive self-check exercises in online courses
2. Faculty presence and interaction with students
3. Faculty feedback within online classroom

The Course Development and Academic Technology teams at DeVry Education Group have developed a set of tools called Test Your Knowledge (TYK). The TYK tools serve to assist learners with a recall of information and key concepts. Faculty can easily create and implement these activities in the online courses. TYK exercises provide students an opportunity to interact with content in a more engaging way. Several types of interactivities have been designed using the TYK tools. These tools apply universal design techniques, and they are accessible on mobile devices. They are low-stakes, quick self-check exercises for students to prepare for summative assessments in the course.
o Demonstration of Test Your Knowledge tools
o Types of interactivity: flash cards, quizzes, glossaries, drag and drops, timelines, scenarios, and so forth
o Key features of TYK tools: mobile-friendly, apply universal design techniques, and accessible to all students

We have developed a middleware application that allows faculty and students to interact using Adobe Connect web conferencing technology. This application not only improves faculty presence in online classrooms, it also enables students to communicate or bring a more social aspect to the online environment.
oDemonstration of Adobe Connect technology
o Live lectures using Adobe Connect
o Team meetings
o Virtual office hours on Adobe

We have developed a technology called Sidebar that allows faculty to engage and fosters their input in course design. Sidebar was developed to facilitate faculty discussion on course content and bring faculty input into the course development process. The development of Sidebar was also prompted by a need to provide a method of issue reporting that included a record of work done, as well as metrics, accountability, and transparency as to the resolution of identified course issues. Sidebar is embedded within courses, and faculty can provide their feedback at any time. Feedback goes directly to the assigned academic lead where it is reviewed and the next steps are determined. This tool has improved the turnaround time in resolving any critical course issues within online courses.
We will present data that has proven that Sidebar is an effective tool for faculty collaboration and issue reporting.
o Demonstration of the Sidebar tool

During the presentation, we will show how we developed a suite of tools in order to meet the needs of our students and faculty. We will also explain why we decided to internally develop our own tools and how this customization provided enhanced opportunities to improve faculty satisfaction and engagement that lead to a better learning experience for our students in the online classroom.

Lead Presenter

My name is Himani Trivedi. I am working as a Manager of Instructional Design department at DeVry Education Group. I have a creative team of Instructional Designers working with me to bring innovations in the courses every day! I also teach online for College of Media Arts and Technology at DeVry University as a visiting professor. I always love to watch all of my students grow from Day 1 cocoons to beautiful graphical butterflies at the end!