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

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April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

Shaping the Future of Faculty Development Using Online Delivery

Bonnie Grohe (Faculty Development and Online Education & Fayetteville State University, USA)
Session Information
October 15, 2015 - 3:30pm
HBCU Innovations (Historically Black Colleges and Universities)
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Discovery Session
Atlantic Hall
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Discovery Session 3

Designing and delivering quality online and hybrid instructor faculty development programs in the online environment that are voluntary and self-supporting (no additional funds needed).

Extended Abstract

The problem we sought to address with the development of the online and hybrid instructor certification programs was diminishing attendance and participation at traditional, face-to-face events. We also recognized that we needed to improve the reach of our services to adjunct and part-time instructors who were not located on campus and faculty who simply wanted more flexibility and convenience in faculty development opportunities.

The context in which these comprehensive programs were developed involved two simultaneous and significant events. The first centered on multi-year state budget cuts, which like other small institutions and HBCUs across the nation, resulted in our faculty having to do much more with less. As a teaching institution, faculty already have heavy teaching, research and service loads. The reduction in resources across the university greatly impacted attendance and participation at traditional faculty development events. At that stage, we knew we had to engage in thoughtful, strategic, decision-making in terms of faculty development offerings and the delivery formats. Toward that end, we evaluated faculty development training evaluations, and found that our faculty want development opportunities that are relevant, innovative and offered in flexible formats. Based on this data, we were compelled to come up with additional ways to provide faculty development that utilized technology and offered flexibility, while still serving as a model of high quality instruction.

The second catalyst for the creation of these programs was the SACS Reaffirmation process. In preparation, we were committed to demonstrating that we provided "adequate training for distance education faculty" (SACS Guidelines).

Our approach to addressing these problems was to develop and deliver instructor certification training and course development programs. These programs evolved to enable faculty to learn the basics of effectively using the Learning Management System, as well as the evidence based, best practices for online and hybrid course design and delivery in an online self-paced format. This would allow faculty to participate from wherever they were physically located and work at their own pace within a four week parameter.

Once the training is completed, faculty apply what they learned by developing new courses and participating in a "show and tell" process with their peers. Upon successful completion of both training and new course development, faculty receive a Certificate of Completion and public acknowledgement, but they receive no financial incentives.

The results collected to date indicate that faculty who complete the certification program(s) experience greater levels of satisfaction and feel more prepared to teach online and hybrid courses. Student course evaluations indicate that most students are satisfied with the flexibility of the formats and in some cases report higher levels of learning outcome mastery.

This conference session will describe the evolution of our certification programs. The format of the session will include discussion of the program and its success even in the absence of financial incentives or administrative mandates to complete it. The remainder of the session will ensure attendee interactivity and engagement, by encouraging attendees to identify potential obstacles to creating a similar program at their institutions and brainstorming potential methods to circumvent those obstacles as a group.

Attendees will leave this session with some tools and concrete direction on how they can implement a similar faculty development program that prepares faculty to design and teach high quality courses that meets the needs of their faculty and students. Attendees will also learn that such programs can be offered and self-sustaining in a climate of limited financial resources devoted to them.

The unique value of this session is in its approach to increasing faculty attendance and participation in faculty development events, enhancing faculty satisfaction and preparation for online and hybrid teaching, and meeting the university's teaching and learning goals. It coincides with the trends of increasing enrollment in online education in higher education in general, the targets being faculty members rather than degree seeking students.

This session is ideal for faculty developers, online and hybrid faculty members, and online and hybrid education administrators.

The materials provided to attendees will include: 1) a copy of the Prezi presentation, and 2) Potential Obstacles and Solutions Hand-out.

The goals of this session are to inspire faculty developers to use data to determine whether online faculty development is right for them and if so, to develop programs that meet the needs of the faculty and the teaching and learning goals of the faculty, students and institution.