Some of the changes that have resulted from my participation in the DLL program have included the implementation of our Professional Learning Center. In this facility, we offer a minimum of 20 hours of face-to-face learning opportunities each week, where faculty can find instruction and support to develop engaging online courses. In addition, we are working on creating more online professional learning opportunities for our remote faculty. We offer a streamed session the first Friday of each month now, called First Friday! Through the implementation of this initiative, we have learned that for streamed opportunities, we must have a presenter and a facilitator, with only chat interactions for participants until after the speaker has completed his/her presentation. Simultaneously streaming presentations that are being delivered live has not been successful, but we are viewing that as an opportunity for improvement and growth. As our Media Makers’ Space (a place for faculty to create engaging audio and video files) grows, our presenters will record their sessions prior to their initial face-to-face delivery and we will build an workshop or course around that.
With my colleague, Jennifer Lee (also an Instructional Designer and Educational Technologist), we have implemented an Online Teaching and Learning Certification Program. This is an evolving program, but we have launched it with some early successes. Right now, the program consists of four courses:
- Designing for Online Learning
- Assessing Learning in the Online Environment
- Building Community in Online Learning Environments
- Multimedia and Technology
- Practicum (offering the participants an opportunity to demonstrate evidence of learning and implementation, and opportunity to create significant learning environments and quality course components for their learning environments)
So far, about 40 faculty members have participated in the entire program. Participants have been immersed in COVA+CSLE, throughout this program, modelling quality learning experiences in the online environment.
Through the implementation of this Online Professional Learning tract for faculty in online learning, I worked extensively with an Art History instructor, Daiken Asakawa over Spring and Summer of 2019 to redesign his Art History courses. His initial practicum project for completing his Online Teaching and Learning certification revolved around the implementation of online portfolios in his studio arts classes (3-D Design, Ceramics). This was very successfully implemented. But for his Art History courses, he found that his students were struggling. As a part of the core curriculum, students are required to take these courses for almost all majors, and are not always interested or fully engaged. Subsequently, Mr Asakawa found that his retention rates (students who remain in the course for its duration) were below the acceptable standard set by Odessa College. Further, many of his students who remained in the course were not engaged and did not succeed in the course.
His Art History course was created initially using the course standards established by the instructional leadership at Odessa College, using a rubric that was based on researched quality rubrics such as Quality Matter, Blackboard’s Exemplaryy Course Program, and the Online Learning Consortium’s rubric. Mr Asakawa wanted to redesign the course so that it would still fit into these established parameters, but would be easier for his learners to navigate. But he also wanted to make the course visually appealing, with colourful icons that would be easy to identify. The course uses a modular structure, where learners will find all the materials and learning experiences to meet objectives for each course outcome. Each module has consistent bold, colourful buttons that are linked to the reading and resources, the learning experiences and assessments, student grades and progress, and opportunities for extra credit. He added an optional “What do you think?” journal for the students to provide feedback weekly to let him know what they liked, and what they did not like in the course. Using that feedback, we were able to tweak experiences and assessments to meet the students’ needs. This gave the students more of a sense of ownership for the course. During Summer 1, 2019, when the course was launched he maintained a 100% retention rate, and a 95% success rate for the pilot of his first modified course. Since he has modified his other Art History courses to this model, creating fun ‘badges’ to help students gauge their progress (based on varying levels of artist success in the art world).
Here’s how his Art History course looks now. What do you think! Who wouldn’t be engaged, right?
Learner Progress in this course
Students seem to like the video game feel of the XP levels, and the artist categories ties back to the subject matter. It’s been a fun project, and the students really have enjoyed the changes to this course. We are about to begin this process with our Art Appreciation and Music Appreciation courses, based on the success Mr Asakawa has seen in his online courses!
Infrastructure changes that have occurred
We have implemented a Professional Learning Center… a place for faculty and staff to receive professional learning experiences.
We have hired an individual to lead Professional Learning for faculty on our campuses, and to head the Professional Learning Center.
We have implemented a series of learning opportunities for faculty. This includes a certification program for those who teach online.
We are beginning to add professional learning opportunities for staff and for our community as well.
We are implementing live streamed professional learning opportunities for remote faculty.
We are developing online courses and workshops to provide professional learning opportunities for all faculty, including our part-time faculty.
We have implemented a Media Makers’ Space, a dedicated space with equipment and software where faculty can create and edit video and audio content for their courses. This will continue to develop and grow.
Opportunities for growth and improvement
We are still not providing adequate support to our part-time faculty. This must change, and will continue to grow with online professional learning opportunities, and online support and mentoring for those remote part-time faculty.
We have learned that Face-To-Face professional learning opportunities cannot effectively be delivered live, face-to-face and simultaneously streamed.
We will be implementing a recorded “dress rehearsal” of all live sessions offered to faculty that will be used in the development of online resources for remote faculty.
Other changes will be implemented as needs are identified.
Asakawa, D. (2019). Images from Art History Course used with permission of the artist and course designer.