According to Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011, published by the Babson Survey Research Group in collaboration with Sloan-C and others, 65% of the 2500+ reporting institutions stated that online learning was a critical part of their long-term strategy. Moreover, the 10% growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the < 1% growth for the overall higher education student population. Thirty-one percent of all higher education students now take at least one course online.
With this proliferation in online education, it is logical and necessary to inquire about how the faculty is being trained to teach in this medium. Going the Distance revealed that there is no single institutional training approach to online teaching, but the vast majority of institutions (94%) do have some kind of training or mentoring. The most common training approaches for faculty teaching online or blended courses are internally run training courses, followed by informal mentoring. Other approaches include formal mentoring, certification programs, and externally run training courses. Institutions of various types were far more likely to use internally vs. externally run training courses. This presentation delves into the types of internal training provided at nonprofit private and public higher education institutions offering online and blended programs in addition to face-to-face programs, and explores:
- Whether faculty training to teach blended or online courses is optional or required and the rationale for this decision;
- The faculty training format-- face-to-face, online or blended - and the rationale and relative advantages/disadvantages of the different approaches;
- Who is responsible for the training, i.e., the institutional office that finances, staffs, and provides training;
- Incentives for faculty participation in training - rationale and mode of implementation;
- Processes for determining faculty readiness and demonstrating proficiency in online teaching
Our goals for the presentation are:
1) To provide an overview of the vast range of current faculty development practices at US institutions to prepare online and blended instructors;
2) To engage in discussion with participants about faculty development models for blended and online teaching at their institutions, and,
3) To suggest resources for creating faculty development/certification programs
in blended and online teaching at their institutions.
The presenters will discuss their findings re: faculty development practices and certification programs for blended and online teaching faculty in traditional institutions, and possible implications for similar higher education institutions. The format will include dialogue with the audience regarding certification programs and practices at their own institutions, followed by open question & answer with the audience.