This session will report on the process of training faculty on redesigning courses to fit the blended environment. Examples of learning activities from a social work research course, including both the face-to-face and the online learning environment will be shared. Student outcome data will be presented.
At the end of this session, participants will:
• Be familiar with a program designed to train and support new faculty in the development of online
and blended courses
• Identify activities utilized in blended courses that foster creative classroom discussion
Nationally, over the past decade there has been a significant growth in the number of online and blended courses. Faculty members who may have little to no knowledge about these formats are being asked to transition traditional courses to online formats. Without proper tools, training, and instructional design, faculty members struggle to develop learner-centered courses which engage, teach, and connect teachers with students. While many institutions recognize this shortcoming, few programs have been designed to adequately prepare instructional staff to teach in the blended and online environments.
Administrators and technology staff at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater recognize this shortcoming and have developed an instructional training program to address it. The nine-week blended course includes instruction on course design, which is based on the Quality Matters standards. It also includes hands-on and experiential learning activities. A central feature of the course involves placing the instructional staff member in the role of the learner. This format is designed to foster an understanding of the challenges of building an online community and subsequently employing strategies to enhance the learning environment.
The training program and ongoing technology support helped to create a number of new courses. One example is an undergraduate research course that was adapted to fit the blended learning environment. The instructional training program proved to be instrumental in assisting a faculty member with course redesign and facilitation.
Important to this project are student data, which confirm mastery of the course objectives.
The results from this project indicate that providing teaching staff with an instructional training program and technology support contributes to the development of a sound and pragmatic blended course.