Stevens Institute of Technology strives to be a leader in effective online higher education introducing Stevens online faculty community to collaborative best practices.
Stevens Institute of Technology conducts bi-annual faculty colloquia to provide important program information to instructors. It provides a venue for online faculty to share pedagogical experiences and to improve e-learning practices to increase student engagement, satisfaction and success in learning. Since its inception in 2003, WebCampus Faculty Colloquium attendance has increased to approximately 80% of WebCampus instructors. The colloquia cover tools, tips and techniques in online classrooms. Colloquia are held at the beginning of fall and spring semesters, the largest semesters of the year. Colloquia allow new instructors and returning online instructors the opportunity to mingle and swap ideas and experiences, both good and bad. Speakers are Stevens’ instructors who present talks on topics relevant to activities for upcoming semesters. Depending on topics, one to three speakers deliver presentations in a three-hour timeframe. What is unique about Stevens Institute of Technology’s colloquia? They are held both on campus and over web conferencing using Interwise, allowing professors who are not on campus to participate. Instructors as far away as Hawaii and Turkey join sessions via web conferencing, view presentations, listen to speakers and participate in discussions using VoIP technology. Topics discussed in past colloquia include “Virtual Teaming,” “Online Communication–Creating that Classroom Feeling Using Chat Rooms, Discussion Board and Web Conferencing,” and “How Technology Integrates Online, On-campus and International Courses.”
In a five semester study conducted by Stevens Professor Steve Savitz, he compared online and classroom courses taught by the same professor. The study showed student ratings for online courses grew to meet, and sometimes exceed, ratings for classroom courses as instructors gained expertise and refined techniques teaching online.
Effective learning increases student satisfaction which increases faculty satisfaction. It is always more enjoyable to teach a course where students are engaged and willing to participate.