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22st Annual OLC International Conference
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April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

Meeting the Needs of Today's Online Professor by Enhancing Faculty Development and Support

Dr. Amy Gaimaro (Molloy College, USA)
Christine Angel (St. John's University, USA)
Session Information
October 14, 2015 - 12:45pm
Faculty and Professional Development & Support
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Northern Hemisphere E3
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 2

This presentation demonstrates how newly developed and redesigned faculty development programs train professors to build a learning-scaffold for the active learner within the online environment.

Extended Abstract

Investing in faculty development is critical to the success of online learning. A discussion of case studies involving newly developed and redesigned initiatives will set the context for this presentation.

Universities are faced with the challenges of developing high quality faculty development projects with limited resources. One such case involves the Office of Online Learning & Services (OLS) at St. John's University, Queens, New York. They were charged with assessing the University's existing faculty development program to increase its hybrid and online program offerings, while maintaining a commitment to quality course design and academic excellence.

One challenge faced is a large distributed faculty who lack instructional design knowledge - with respect to the online and hybrid teaching environments - and need to be trained within a timely manner. Additionally, the University has never employed Instructional Designers to assist with training or provide support in the design, development, and implementation of hybrid and/or online courses. The existing faculty development offerings were limited in scope and depth as related to instructional design and best practices in teaching within the online and hybrid learning platforms. In the past, faculty feedback indicated a need for a more robust program and continued support throughout their teaching.

In response to these challenges, the OLS Director hired two full-time Instructional Designers. OLS developed a blended approach to faculty development while focusing on peer engagement. With a focus on collaboration, OLS partnered with Information Technology to provide an optional on-campus technology workshop, which is offered prior to the fully online four-week course. OLS created the course with a consistent look and feel, while a St. John's faculty member facilitates the four-week course to promote peer engagement. As a result, faculty attrition rates have been reduced and faculty feedback is positive.

Redesigning our faculty development program has proven to be invaluable for reaching existing and new faculty. Our newly designed course demonstrates best practices by including: (1) maintaining strong instructor presence; (2) setting clear expectations about course requirements; (3) maintaining a high-degree of organization and planning, and; (4) providing appropriate teaching and learning resources.

A comparative analysis between the newly designed program to the former will be provided by a faculty member from the Division of Library and Information Science (DLIS) program at St. John's University. She will also demonstrate how the newly redesigned faculty development program is incorporated into her online and hybrid courses and share lessons learned.

In this presentation, we will cover:
1. The institutional context--the new dedicated resources charged with quality assurance and faculty development
2. The development process--the methodology for online course development
3. Evaluation & assessment--a summary of faculty development course evaluation survey results, a discussion of the American Library Association Committee on Accreditation (ALA-COA) and course evaluation survey results will be shared
4. Lessons learned from new initiatives--a faculty report on most recent teaching experiences

Lead Presenter

Dr. Amy Gaimaro is the Dean of Innovative Delivery Methods at Molloy College. She possesses over fifteen years of higher education administration and teaching. Her research interests focus on faculty development and innovative approaches to teaching blended and online.