San José State University developed an instructional design process to engage faculty members in a learning community during the online course development process. Through the use of synchronous and asynchronous sessions housed in a learning management system, faculty members participated in a learning community with others, who were also developing an online course. The learning community served dual purposes: to provide faculty members with a peer support network and to display and showcase the effectiveness a learning community can have in the online environment.
San José State University’s mission is to enrich the lives of its students, to transmit knowledge to its students along with the necessary skills for applying it in the service of our society, and to expand the base of knowledge through research and scholarship. With a geographic location in Silicon Valley, the demand of technological innovation as it relates to the potential benefits for multicultural and global students define a purpose for the development of high quality online courses. The university supports the use of a learning management system (LMS) for teaching and learning online. Approximately, 55% of the faculty members were using the LMS in Fall 2011 and this process intended to help increase this percentage.
· State the title and number associated with your course.
· Is this course part of the General Education (GE) program?
· How many students are typically enrolled in one section of this course?
· Describe your experience with online courses and instructional technologies as an instructor.
· Describe your experiences with online courses as a student.
· Why are you interested in developing your course online?
· Technology skill level (expert or novice)
· Do you commit to the requirements of the various phases?
· Proposal overall sections (strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, strongly agree)
· Proposal presentation – organized, logical, and easy to follow (5-point scale poor to excellent)
· Proposal content – all areas addressed with adequate detail (5-point scale poor to excellent)
· Course demand (5-point scale not important to very important)
· Overall rank (5-point scale poor to excellent)
· Overall quality (5-point scale poor to excellent)
· Recommendation for participation (yes, no, not sure)
· All components required were submitted and correctly formatted (including a copy of the proposed syllabus)
The goal of the project was to assist faculty members in the development of an effective online course. The development of an effective online course was measured and assessed via multiple tools. Throughout the development process, faculty members completed progress reports to indicate certain deliverables were completed. Also, the learning community provided feedback to one another. Their discussions were captured using the discussion board as well as though a synchronous web-conferencing session. Further data will be gathered related to the effectiveness of the development of the online course and the learning community support through a survey and interview. Providing a supportive community construct to aid faculty members in their own online course construction may have (1) permitted them to feel adequate support and a sense of belonging and (2) exemplified a model with which they might utilize in their own online course developed.
The implementation of a program of this nature allows faculty members access to a peer network of support at they develop a high quality online course. When encouraging faculty participation, it is important to communicate to them they will be part of and have access to a faculty learning community as they design and develop their online course. The faculty learning community is part of a larger project of developing an online course. The learning effectiveness can be measured by the successful completion of the development of an online course. The quality level of this course will be achieved and measured through rubrics, deliverables, and participation in the learning community activities. The scale of a project of this nature is unbounded. This type of project could be run at the department level, college level, or university level.
The only equipment necessary for this project is a computer with an Internet connection.
The cost of a project can vary. The faculty participants after completion of designing, developing, and teaching the courses were and/or will be compensated with $1500. When recreating or implementing a program of this nature, the cost can vary depending on the budget of the school. The use of a learning community, for example, in a department where multiple courses are going to be put online may not require a monetary incentive, but with help provide an additional tier of support that will be instrumental in increasing the quality of the course developed. Also, encouraging faculty members who are interested in participating and acknowledging up front the support structure they will be provided with will be helpful as they embark together toward the common goal of developing a high quality online course.
California State University, Chico. (2009). Rubric for online instruction. Retrieved from, http://www.csuchico.edu/celt/roi/.
Cox, M. D. (2004). Introduction to faculty learning communities. In M. D. Cox & L. Richlin (Eds.), Building faculty learning communities (pp. 5-23). New Directions for Teaching and Learning: No. 97, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Misanchuk, M., & Anderson, T. (2001). Building community in an online learning environment: Communication, cooperation and collaboration. Retrieved from, http://www.mtsu.edu/~itconf/proceed01/19.html