Wednesday, February 1, 2012

three-tiered approach to online faculty development

The folks down at Drexel have a nice stable model for developing online faculty. I like this approach because it's a "cover all the avenues" strategy. It's not a shotgun splatter that hopes to hit something.

Tier 1: Workshops and Courses
  • Online and F2F (faculty presenting to other faculty)
  • Use Adobe Connect Pro and Captivate
Tier 2: Just-in-Time Support
  • Faculty samples site
    -- Repository of samples, examples, best practices
  • Resource Portal
    -- Emphasis on the technology, tutorials
Tier 3: One on One
Instructional designer and faculty relationship to deliver and design an online course.

The ratio of designers to courses at Drexel? 70 courses per designer. Holy crap that's a lot of courses for one designer to manage! Their workshops and courses have the lowest use rate of faculty (adjuncts included), which doesn't seem too surprising since the workshops and courses are optional forms of faculty development. They've also stated that faculty report the online resources as the "least useful" of the three tiers of support. Why? Usability? Searchable? Awareness?

The most valuable and most used by faculty? Tier-Three! Why? Because faculty are getting discipline-specific support -- meeting them on their turf. Instructional designers are assigned to specific programs and become highly familiar with the faculty and the subject matter.

What I really like about Drexel's approach is that faculty are required to complete training if they're teaching online, regardless of their faculty standing. Focus of the sessions is on pedagogy -- design and development is embedded in the activities. Similarly, the instructional technology is "infused" into the instruction. The required training leads to a  certification -- takes about 4-6 hours to complete.

A nice model. Easily replicated. The solutions are out there.

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