SoftChalk Webinar: Preparing Faculty of all Technology Levels to Teach Online – Blended – Hybrid

From the webinar site:

Canisius College, a Jesuit institution in Buffalo, NY, has moved rapidly to build online programs, tripling the number in the last three years. To address this rapid growth, the college created and implemented a comprehensive and innovative collection of training offerings that helps connect faculty to the values and mission of their institution as well as addressing faculty members’ prior experiences with online teaching. Using Palloff and Pratt’s Five Phases of Online Faculty Development to guide the professional development offerings, the Plan is made up of three core workshops (novice, intermediate, and advanced), online course review tool, the Griff Guide to Teaching Online, resources for review and assessment, and professional development opportunities. Continue reading “SoftChalk Webinar: Preparing Faculty of all Technology Levels to Teach Online – Blended – Hybrid”

Regularly Attend Workshops and Conferences

Michelle Costello, Education and Instructional Design Librarian, Milne Library, SUNY Geneseo.

“If you are able to, regularly attend workshops and conferences on instructional design and instructional technology. These will keep you apprised of the newest developments in the field and are a great way to network. Make sure you take the time to go to events outside of formal sessions; these are often the best times to meet new people and talk about the ideas discussed during the formal sessions. In addition, take advantage of conferences and workshops outside of your specific field or area.” (For example, if you are an academic, go to a corporate-focused conference.)


“A Constructivist Approach to Online Training for Online Teachers”

constructivism banner

Sanford Gold.  “A Constructivist Approach to Online Training for Online Teachers.”  The Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, volume 5, number 1 (May 2001): 35-57.


This article examines the pedagogical role of the teacher in online education. Specifically, the transition from in-class room instruction to online instruction is a complex one involving specialized training in the technical aspects of delivering quality educational materials (or environments) to the students, and specialized training in how to foster knowledge acquisition within this new environment. The article focuses on the pedagogical training that an online instructor needs to become an effective teacher.

The article investigates a two-week faculty development pedagogical training course aimed at preparing teachers to operate effectively within an online educational environment. In attempting to orient the teacher to the online environment, the course used a constructivist instructional methodology within an online context. Several types of collaborative exercises were employed such as virtual field trips, online evaluations, interactive essays, and group projects.

The sample (N=44) represented veteran college teachers with little online teaching or studying experience. Tenured faculty (30%) and Instructors (25%) composed the majority of the class. The group had well over 13 years classroom teaching experience (53%), and over three-quarters are currently teaching in higher education institutions.

Hypotheses were tested through online data collection and surveys to find out the effects of the pedagogical training on the participants. One important finding of the study concludes that teachers exposed to the course significantly changed their attitudes toward online instruction seeing it as more participatory, and interactive than face-to-face instruction. Another major finding is that after the course, teachers saw the online medium as more of an extension of their faculty work. That is, faculty were more willing to use the online medium as an extension of their duties.

The full article is available here.

“Online Teacher Support Programs: Mentoring and Coaching Models”


Online Teacher Support Booklet Icon

The North American Council for Online Learning has released a report entitled “Online Teacher Support Programs: Mentoring and Coaching Models.”  The report was written by Karly Wortmann (Iowa State University), Cathy Cavanaugh (University of Florida), Kathryn Kennedy (University of Florida), Yoany Beldarrain (Florida Virtual School), Therese Letourneau (Florida Virtual School), and Vicky Zygouris-Coe (University of Central Florida).

From the introduction:

This document describes the mentoring relationship from the perspectives of several virtual schools that have built mentoring programs to assist their new teachers. Each school’s mentoring program is unique and has been designed specifically for the school’s staff, size, and instructional approach. These schools have learned that a successful mentoring program is key in developing effective novice virtual school teachers and in supporting the continued growth of experienced virtual school teachers. Mentoring programs are still new to virtual schools, but they may also be a factor in teacher retention. In any case, an effective mentoring program will benefit the mentee through development of knowledge and skills, the mentor through development of leadership and communication capabilities, and the school through the sharing of ideas and expertise.

The report looks at these types of mentoring:

  • Task-based mentoring focuses on an individual’s short-term need to improve a skill or acquire knowledge in order to fulfill a new role. ƒ
  • Experience-based mentoring pairs an individual, who is new to an organization or a role, with a mentor who has experience in that role. ƒ Just-in-time mentoring matches mentors with individuals who have an unanticipated need for assistance. ƒ
  • One-to-one mentoring centers on a single mentor working with a single mentee ƒ
  • Team mentoring joins groups of mentors with groups of mentees. ƒ
  • Formal mentoring involves explicit expectations of the mentoring process and/or outcomes by specifying such characteristics as timelines, achievements, progress reporting, benchmarks, and communications formats.

And, the following elements of mentoring programs:

  • Personal and professional reflection ƒ
  • Sharing of expertise to others with common interests ƒ
  • Portfolio development ƒ
  • Learning communities ƒ
  • Professional development planning for both mentor and mentee/protégé ƒ
  • Short-term collaborations through co-teaching or team teaching

The book is available from ERIC here.

Online Nation: Five Years of Growth In Online Education

Online Nation

The 2007 survey of online education conducted by the Babson Research Survey Group is now available.  The research was funded by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  The survey represents the responses of over 2,500 colleges and universities and addresses these key questions:

How Many Students are Learning Online?:

  • Almost 3.5 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2006 term; a nearly 10 percent increase over the number reported the previous year.
  • The 9.7 percent growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the 1.5 percent growth of the overall higher education student population.
  • Nearly twenty percent of all U.S. higher education students were taking at least one online course in the fall of 2006.

Where has the Growth In Online Learning Occurred?:

  • Two-year associate’s institutions have the highest growth rates and account for over one-half of all online enrollments for the last five years.
  • Baccalaureate institutions began the period with the fewest online enrollments and have had the lowest rates of growth.

Why do Institutions Provide Online Offerings?:

  • All types of institutions cite improved student access as their top reason for offering online courses and programs.
  • Institutions that are the most engaged in online education cite increasing the rate of degree completion as a very important objective; this is not as important for institutions that are not as engaged in online learning.
  • Online is not seen as a way to lower costs; reduced or contained costs are among the least-cited objectives for online education.
  • The appeal of online instruction to non-traditional students is indicated by the high number of institutions which cite growth in continuing and/or professional education as an objective for their online offerings.

What are the Prospects for Future Online Enrollment Growth?:

  • Much of the past growth in online enrollments has been fueled by new institutions entering the online learning arena. This transition is now nearing its end; most institutions that plan to offer online education are already doing so.
  • A large majority (69 percent) of academic leaders believe that student demand for online learning is still growing.
  • Virtually all (83 percent) institutions with online offerings expect their online enrollments to increase over the coming year.
  • Future growth in online enrollments will most likely come from those institutions that are currently the most engaged; they enroll the most online learning students and have the highest expectations for growth.

What are the Barriers to Widespread Adoption of Online Education?:

  • Academic leaders cite the need for more discipline on the part of online students as the most critical barrier, matching the results of last year’s survey.
  • Faculty acceptance of online instruction remains a key issue. Those institutions most engaged in online do not believe it is a concern for their own campus, but do see it as a barrier to more wide-spread adoption of online education.
  • Higher costs for online development and delivery are seen as barriers among those who are planning online offerings, but not among those who have online offerings.
  • Academic leaders do not believe that there is a lack of acceptance of online degrees by potential employers.


The full report is available here.

Or, here: online-nation