The Provost’s Office and the Department of Distance Learning at USI invite faculty applications for the Online Teaching Certification Programs hosted by The Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) and Quality Matters (QM). Megan Linos, assistant provost for distance learning, said courses are designed for faculty who either desire to teach online or want to sharpen their online teaching skills. Workshop fees will be covered for 12 USI faculty members attending one of these online teaching certification programs during the 2012-13 academic year.
Twelve USI faculty members took on the student role in summer 2012 and participated in Sloan-C; faculty, staff, and an administrator enrolled for Quality Matters.
Among the workshop participants, each USI college was represented.
“It was ambitious, but I wanted to learn new ways to teach,” said Dr. Kathy Elpers, associate professor of social work, who took five Sloan-C classes. “I learned that online classes encompass more time than posting documents and assignments, creating videos, and using discussion boards. It takes time to review how assignments and activities align themselves to the goals and objectives of the class. I learned about online resources and how to develop a blog with students.”
Mary Beth Reese, instructor in public relations, has six years of online teaching experience at USI. She made changes to her online methods after the summer offering. “I’ve designed interactive activities and foster a more learning-friendly community by using live chat and online meetings for a face-to-face atmosphere for online classes,” she said. “I had real assignments and engaged in interactive online discussions during the workshop.”
Dr. Charles F. Hathaway, assistant professor of nursing, has taught nearly a dozen online courses. This fall he is teaching an online class with 95 students. During the summer workshops he learned more about wikis, a website that allows users to create and coordinate group work easily, and wiki blogs rather than traditional discussion boards as a methodology.
Dr. Daniel Wade, professor of accounting, is teaching one online course and two blended courses this fall. “The workshops provided a rich source of guidance for online teaching,” he said. “The distance instructor must find a way to help the online student feel a part of the class. I’m using the Blackboard Collaborate online classroom software to provide distance education students with a face-to-face classroom experience. Combined with recorded lectures, the Blackboard Collaborate tool provides students the opportunity to bond with the professor in the online educational experience.”
QM, a nationally recognized program, provides a faculty-centered, peer review process designed to certify the quality of online courses and online components. Experienced online teaching faculty with an interest in becoming certified online course reviewers and facilitating other USI faculty to deliver quality online courses should pursue the QM certification. Seven USI faculty and staff started the program this summer with positive experiences.
“The workshop provided me new ideas, examples, and rubrics to enhance the design and delivery process of my online courses”, said Judy Wells, instructor in mathematics, who is a certified FACT (Formative Assessment of Classroom Teaching) reviewer, with many years of online teaching experience.
“Quality Matters, the name of the workshop, summarizes my reason for participating in this online workshop,” said Dr. Kathy Rodgers. “As chair of the Department of Mathematics, I cannot make informed decisions relating to online offerings if I am not knowledgeable of the components of a quality course. This workshop helped me better understand what constitutes a quality course, how to better assess online learning, and how to better interact with students.”
“While providing more distance learning opportunities to USI students, we are eager to continue providing USI faculty training opportunities, teaching toolkits, learning tools, and technology support. It is our hope faculty will experience the true excitement of teaching innovations through distance learning,” said Linos.
For more information about the available online teaching workshops and certification programs, you can review the workshop schedule at http://www.usi.edu/distance/distance-learning-faculty-workshops or contact the Department of Distance Learning at 812/228-5124 or email DLSupport@usi.edu.
Photo Credit: USI Photography Services