Preparing to Teach Online: One Size Does Not Fit All

On April 1-3,  the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) presented its Spring Online Focus Session: Faculty Engagement and Development: Effective and Innovative Practice.  Institutions from around the country were selected to present practices on their own campus for engaging faculty and furthering their development.  In this 3-day online event, participants engaged with the presenters via chat, Q&A and focused activities reflecting on their individual campus practices.

Reta Chaffee photoReta Chaffee, GSC Director of Educational Technology, presented When One Size No Longer Fits All: Preparing a Diverse Faculty for the Ever-Changing Online Environment.    In her presentation, she described the change of the faculty profile since 1999 when the college first started offering online courses.  At that time most faculty had little if any skills in teaching in an online environment.  The self-selecting group of faculty who were willing to teach online tended to be the “early adopters” as referred to in Everett Roger’s Diffusion of Innovation theory.  But today faculty are coming to college with more diverse skills in building and delivering online courses.  The college’s “one-size-fits-all” online faculty development model is no longer well-suited for the college or the faculty. Guided by a more competency-based strategy, GSC is in the process of redesigning the faculty training and development model to provide a more customized and layered approach to preparing faculty to teach online, including self-paced tutorials, evidence-based assessments, modeling, and mentoring.  The end goal is to provide an efficient, scalable, and sustainable model to meet faculty where they are while offering high-quality online learning for students.

ELI is a community of higher education institutions and organizations committed to the advancement of learning through the innovative application of technology.

EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education through the use of information technology.  EDUCAUSE helps those who lead, manage, and use information technology to shape strategic decisions at every level. EDUCAUSE actively engages with colleges and universities, corporations, foundations, government, and other nonprofit organizations to further the mission of transforming higher education through the use of information technology.