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Save the Dates

22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

ITLE Live! A Blended Learning Approach to Faculty Professional Development

#Twitter: 
#blended20933
Presenter(s)
J. Shane Robinson (Oklahoma State University, USA)
Kristi Dickey (Oklahoma State University, USA)
Gina Morris (Institute of Teaching and Learning Excellence, USA)
Additional Authors
Simon Ringsmuth (Oklahoma State University, USA)
Session Information
July 9, 2014 - 11:20am
Track: 
Faculty Development & Student Support
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Best Practices
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
Intermediate
Session Type: 
Information Session
Location: 
Plaza Court 4
Session Duration: 
50 Minutes
Session: 
Information Session 6
Abstract

Faculty need sustained and prolonged professional development. ITLE Live! is a blended learning forum that helps faculty receive professional development to improve their teaching effectiveness.

Extended Abstract

Faculty in higher education institutions often feel underprepared in their teaching roles (Brancato, 2003). With all the demands on faculty members' time, it is imperative that they receive professional development regarding teaching that is convenient, timely, and efficient. Hence, offering a wide variety of blended options is essential to reaching faculty across a given campus. At Oklahoma State University (OSU), the Institute for Teaching and Learning Excellence (ITLE) exists as a center for assisting faculty develop their teaching competence to improve student engagement and success (Oklahoma State University, ITLE). Efforts are devoted to increasing teaching effectiveness for better student learning (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014).

Since the inception of ITLE over two decades ago, monthly face-to-face workshops have been a core element of its services offered to OSU faculty. These workshops are 1.5 hours in length and are designed and delivered by current faculty at OSU (Oklahoma State University, Professional Development Workshops). Topics include using active learning strategies, developing hybrid courses, and creating a flipped course. The topics are general and attract a wide range of audiences. Although popular (the sessions have had an average attendance of ~45), not all faculty can devote the time required to attend a faculty development workshop in its entirety. As such, modifications to the existing structure were needed.

Beginning in August 2013, the Department of Teaching and Learning Support at OSU began offering a different forum for professional development. Each Friday, the department hosts a 30-minute live streaming event, called ITLE Live!, in ITLE's state-of-the-art studio.

ITLE Live! has engaged faculty in professional development in ways more convenient for their busy professional lifestyles. Now, in addition to attending a 1.5 hour face-to-face "catch all" training each month, faculty can tune in weekly for a 30-minute professional development in-service (from 10:00 to 10:30 am CST) on a specific topic that has immediate applicable utility. Topics explored in these broadcasts have ranged from pedagogical methods, such as the effective use of interest approaches and discussion strategies, to technology integration in the classroom, such as using Desire to Learn (D2L) and Smart Boards. Viewers can, and often do, submit questions to a custom email account (itlelive@okstate.edu), which are answered live on air. Additionally, each segment is videotaped and uploaded to the ITLE online archive for faculty viewing (Oklahoma State University, ITLE Live).

Faculty receive an announcement each week highlighting the topic and presenter. Embedded within each announcement are hyperlinks that, when accessed, allow individuals to attend the event and access past ITLE Live! videos in the archives. The hyperlinks take faculty to the ITLE website where additional information regarding teaching and learning is housed, in addition to the information they are seeking.

Anecdotally, the ITLE Live! segments have been successful. Unsolicited, faculty have made numerous, positive remarks regarding their appreciation for having access to quick, immediate, and helpful professional development in which they do not have to physically leave their office or workspace to obtain. Faculty also appreciate the convenience of being able to watch and participate in ITLE Live! events without having to create an account or otherwise login to a hosting site.

To increase participation of faculty viewers further, ITLE Live! has added a special series during the Spring 2014 semester, called Faculty Talk Friday (FTF). FTF is held on the last Friday of each month. During FTF, a panel of three faculty members at OSU are brought onto the set to discuss topics and address questions that other faculty submit regarding teaching and learning. Panelists share their thoughts regarding questions asked. They are encouraged to draw on their personal experiences and provide professional insight regarding faculty concerns.

FTF is still in its infancy stage. To date, there have been only two FTFs offered, one in January and another in February. However, all indications suggest that this addition is being received well. Faculty and Graduate Teaching Associates have responded with a wide variety of questions ranging from how to balance teaching with a high research responsibility to how to engage students in large lecture classes. Faculty who have participated as panelists for FTF have included Associate Professors, Professors, and Department Heads. The only "requirement" is that these individuals be recognized by their peers as effective teachers.

One of the advantages of videotaping each segment of ITLE Live! is that pieces of that footage can be shared with faculty in advance of a monthly Faculty Development Workshop. In this way, presenters actually model the "flipped classroom" design and help demonstrate to faculty the ways to employ the flipped design in their classrooms.

The mission of the Department of Teaching and Learning Support at Oklahoma State University is to help every faculty member improve his or her teaching effectiveness (Oklahoma State University, ITLE). To do this, a variety of professional development offerings employing high impact instructional strategies must be made accessible. This includes both the topic of the workshops and the forum in which they are offered. Brancato (2003) stated, "Faculty development initiatives that are strategically planned, implemented, and sustainable over time encourage a perspective on teaching as a lifelong endeavor and necessitate continuous learning by faculty" (p. 61). By offering a blended approach to faculty development, instructors have access to additional pedagogical tools that they might not have otherwise. What is more, faculty can review the videos as many times as necessary to become more efficient at mastering the skills of effective teaching.

References

Brancato, V. C. (2003). Professional development in higher education. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 98, 59-65. doi: 10.1002/ace.100

Oklahoma State University. ITLE. About ITLE (n.d.). Who are we? Retrieved at itle.okstate.edu/about/who-are-we.php

Oklahoma State University. ITLE Live (n.d.). ITLE live. Retrieved at itle.okstate.edu/itlelive/

Oklahoma State University. Professional Development Workshops (n.d.). ITLE professional development workshops. Retrieved at itle.okstate.edu/legacy/index.php/events-calendar

Svinicki, M. D., & McKeachie, W. J. (2014). McKeachie's teaching tips: Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers (14th ed). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Lead Presenter

Dr. Shane Robinson is an associate professor in agricultural education and the associate director of the Institute for Teaching and Learning Excellence (ITLE) at Oklahoma State University. At ITLE, he and his department create professional development and provide technical and pedagogical support to faculty teaching activities. Dr. Robinson has instigated a blended approach to pedagogical professional development that has been received well by faculty at Oklahoma State University. The theme of the Department of Teaching and Learning Support at ITLE is Student Engagement, Student Success. Dr. Robinson and his staff try to help faculty become more effective teachers by focusing on students' learning needs.