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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

Transitioning to an Online Course Design Where No Faculty is Left Behind

Laurell Malone (North Carolina Central University, USA)
Session Information
October 15, 2015 - 1:30pm
HBCU Innovations (Historically Black Colleges and Universities)
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Asia 2
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 7

Expect it and Inspect it! Learn how to transition the most resistant faculty to an online course design where Quality Matters for instructional transformations.

Extended Abstract

The rapid growth of online education has forced institutions of higher education to quickly adopt and adapt to this popular mode of education as a measure for sustainability and competitiveness. According to a 2011 report by the National Center for Education Statistics on the enrollment of the 20 largest degree-granting college and university campuses, the University of Phoenix, Online Campus, was number one with an enrollment figure of 307,871 students. Liberty University was number four with 64,096 and Walden was number 16 with 48,982, both know for its online programs. Despite this enrollment trend in online education, there are people who continue to question the quality of education achieved through the online format.
As the chair of a department at a southeastern Historically Black College and University (HBCU), just in case this is a regional phenomenon, I have experienced faculty members resistant to online education. Some of the resistance to digital learning can be attributed to professors not seeing the value in online teaching and learning, professors fearful of being replaced by online courses, professors' perceptions of inferior learning outcomes for students, not wanting to stray away from traditions, and not wanting to compromise academic freedom. With these concerns in mind I had to forge ahead and move my department forward with preparing our courses and programs for online teaching and learning, especially if we wanted to continue to be viable and meet the diverse needs of our current and perspective students. In this collaborative approach it was important to the faculty members of my department to maintain the quality and integrity of the program's courses and learning outcomes in the online environment. As the department began its transitional journey to online course delivery emphasis was placed on a standardized course design of all departmental courses in the university's Learning Management System (LMS) with the purpose of making all departmental courses, uniformly, online ready, regardless of whether courses were taught online, face-to-face, or blended.

Quality online course design or instruction is comparable to quality face-to-face course design or instruction; it starts with quality instructors and quality professional development. The Quality Matters (QM) process, standards, and rubric were used as a framework and measure for designing and formatting the departments' courses for online delivery. All faculty members received training in applying the QM rubric. The QM Program is a faculty centered and peer reviewed process for subscribing colleges and universities to use to develop, maintain, review, and certify the quality of online courses and its components.

All courses at our university have an assigned course shell in the university's LMS and all faculty are required to us the LMS to provide basic course information such as instructor contact information and office hours, the course syllabus, and course requirements. Of course what is expected has to be inspected. An initial review of each faculty member's course shell in the LMS revealed a wide range of course designs with some faculty members using numerous features of the LMS, digital and social media, web-conferencing and technology integration, and others had a digital desert with very little to no course information. The QM process provided a way to level the playing field of online course design for the entire faculty in the areas of learner interaction and engagement, assessment and measurement, course technology, learner support, and the alignment of (virtual) course tasks with the (established) student learning outcomes.

The presenter will share faculty growth factors, professional development activities, and instructional transformations along the way of a two-year journey to a quality course design. Tips will also be shared from an administrative perspective on how to hold faculty accountable for continuous improvement. Participants will identify five key components of a quality online ready course design that they are willing to incorporate in their course(s).