In the 10th annual survey, Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States (see http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/survey/changing_course_2012), almost 70% of the higher education institutions who responded reported that online education is critical to their long-term strategy. It also reported that the number of students taking at least one online course is 6.7 million, or 32%, anAll-time high. The number of online programs and courses also grows every year resulting in an increasing number of faculty who are entering the online classroom for the first time. This is true at Penn State where we are planning to significantly increase our online enrollments. Teaching in an online environment can be considerably different in nature than teaching face-to-face. As faculty members initially consider teaching online, what skills are required and how can they best prepare themselves for online success? How do we learn of their needs and provide them adequate support?
The original Faculty Self-Assessment for Online Teaching Tool was developed in 2007 in collaboration with the University of Central Florida and has been shared with a number of colleges and universities through its Creative Commons licensing. It was presented at the 2008 Sloan-C Conference, along with the survey results on which the tool was based. Its twenty-two questions were grouped into four categories: Organization & Time Management, Communicating Online, Teaching & Online Experience, and Technical Skills. The tool needed to be updated to align with Penn State's Competencies for Online Teaching Success (see COTS at https://www.e-education.psu.edu/files/OnlineTeachingCompetencies_FacEnga...), developed through an exploratoryResearch Study, literature review, and interviews with experienced faculty and staff, documenting their best practices for online teaching, and published in The Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (see JALN at http://sloanconsortium.org/jaln/v16n1/identification-competencies-online...).
In order to provide our faculty with the appropriate training and resources to be successful online educators, our redesigned readiness tool provides a baseline of pedagogical, technical, and administrative skills to prepare them for the online teaching environment. The thirty competencies are intended to provide faculty and administrators with a better understanding of the instructional requirements of online teaching. Faculty's use of this tool willAllow them to self-assess their online readiness, identify any skill gaps, and link to appropriate resources, including guidelines, examples, workshop opportunities, and best practices.
The revised tool is being unveiled and shared at this conference, once again with a Creative Commons license. Faculty, administrators, instructional designers, and faculty developers will benefit from this session because they will gain first access to the tool. A QR code and link will be provided to use the tool, and a downloadable file will be available to install the tool on their own institution's server where they will be able to edit the text to fit their specific context. Small group discussion will be used to review the tool, provide feedback, and reflect on how they might integrate the tool into their online efforts. Strategies to use the tool will be shared, based on its past and current use at Penn State.
gain access to the newly updated Faculty Self-Assessment Tool,
provide feedback on the tool's design, questions, and responses,
discuss how this tool might help to shape their faculty's preparation for online teaching, and
receive suggestions on integrating the tool into their faculty development initiatives.