Toward an Understanding of What Works in Professional Development for Online Instructors: The Case of PBS Teacherline

Volume, Issue - Date: 
Volume 16, Issue 2 - March 2012
Barbara C. Storandt
Lia C. Dossin
Anna Piacentini Lacher
Barbara C. Storandt, ALTA Solutions Group, LLC
Lia C. Dossin, PBS Teacherline
Anna Piacentini Lacher, ALTA Solutions Group, LLC
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professional development, online instruction, formative assessment, instruments, virtual faculty support, program management, collaborative learning, professional learning communities, virtual pedagogy, standards for online teaching
Research conducted in various settings suggests that preparation and support for online instructors should be considered separately from comparable efforts for instructors in face-to-face environments. However, few studies provide empirical data that outline the ways in which preparation to teach online should differ, and only a handful link these practices to measurable outcomes that help define what is meant by effective. PBS TeacherLine’s model presents an opportunity to examine a comprehensive, well-established effort to prepare and support instructors of exclusively online courses. Results from a yearlong study illustrate PBS TeacherLine’s successes and explores their relationship with outcomes such as instructor retention, quality of online instruction, satisfaction with support received, and favorable learner course grades and re-enrollment rates. Findings reveal promising practices for preparing and supporting any online faculty, whether in k-12 or higher education, and suggest outcomes that may be appropriate for characterizing the effectiveness of these efforts.