Academic journal article The Journal of Faculty Development

Using Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) to Sustain Success in Faculty Development for Online Teaching

Academic journal article The Journal of Faculty Development

Using Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) to Sustain Success in Faculty Development for Online Teaching

Article excerpt

The use of internet courses within higher education is at an all-time high and continuing to grow (Allan & Seaman, 2007); and preparation of faculty to teach online is a critical component of successful distance education programs (Shea, 2007). Many universities are preparing faculty by offering faculty development and training programs to help them convert face-to-face classes to online classes. The 2007 Sloan Consortium report on distance education identifies that virtually all national institutions with online offerings are seeing upward enrollment trends (Allan & Seaman, 2007). In 2000, Palloff and Pratt began to focus on the distinct differences between good teaching face-to-face and good teaching online remarking that it was not just a case of "converting" courses but redesigning them to help distance learners build "communities of practice."

As the University of Louisville's (U of L's) online student body expanded, the need for faculty development in online teaching increased. The solution was to expand the faculty development center, the Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning (Delphi Center), to support faculty development in instructional technology with a focus on online instruction. Prior to 2008, the Delphi Center's faculty development model was one-on-one training sessions, small group sessions for faculty groups "on demand", and brief focused seminars advertised to the entire faculty community. While highly effective, this individualized approach was inefficient, costly, and labor intensive. Initially, the Delphi Center did not have instructional design professionals on staff. Instead, they contracted with experienced faculty from the College of Education and Human Development for this support. In 2009, they expanded their training team to three full-time instructional designers and four fulltime e-learning support staff.

The Delphi Center's most intense faculty development program, Delphi U, was introduced in 2008 to address the growing need for online distance education training and resources. "Camp Delphi" was the original name for this three and a half day face-to-face summer program conducted as a retreat at the U of L conference center away from the central campus. The goals were to familiarize faculty with the online learning platform Blackboard (Bb), and to expose them to practical issues related to teaching online such as copyright, web accessibility, and student engagement. It also built a sense of community by training faculty from many academic disciplines together in a relaxed, interactive environment.

Although Camp Delphi was popular, several faculty advisory committees recommended adding more structure and focus, especially regarding best practices in e-learning. In 2010, Camp Delphi was redesigned with a refined curriculum and a name change to "Delphi U". Delphi U was expanded to four days of face-to-face training including more specific teaching strategies, practicum's, and best practices for e-learning. The popular "retreat" design was kept.

Faculty development studies show that mixed faculty groups foster the exchange of ideas and comparison/discussion of practices good and bad. Success of faculty development programs is influenced by involving faculty in the planning and program development as well as clearly defining and the communication policies, goals and objectives (Lan, 2001). Teaching is more effective when participants use experiential learning and evaluate outcomes of achievement according to their own goals (Carroll, 1993; Pololi et al, 2001).

The revised curriculum is grounded on constructivist teaching strategies and design elements while incorporating the utilization of the Quality Matters (QM(TM)) rubric (Quality Matters, 2006) and Paul-Elder Critical thinking model (Paul & Elder, 2014). The seventeen modules use the "tell (audio)-show (visual)-do (hands on/kinetic)" methodology allowing faculty active participation in learner centered exercises and activities after each didactic presentation (Gardner, 2013). …

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