PROCEDURES FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORT FOR ONLINE INSTRUCTORS
Online instruction commonly refers to courses that are delivered completely online via the world wide web, meaning students and instructors are not in the same place, geographically. Online courses can be delivered either asynchronously and/or synchronously and at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) for students either in online programs and/or main campus programs.
The overall goal of these recommended procedures is to ensure that instructors (including tenured/non-tenured faculty, adjunct instructors, EHRA non-faculty instructors, and graduate students) at UNCG have encouragement and opportunities for professional development and support to deliver the highest quality online instruction and excellence in teaching. This goal is consistent with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Distance and Correspondence Education Policy Statement (2018) that “Instructors who teach in distance and correspondence education programs and courses receive appropriate training” (p. 3). The professional development procedures and support recommended herein are intended to apply to instructors who are engaged in partial online delivery (50% or more online; often referred to as hybrid, blended or mixed delivery), as well as full online delivery.
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INITIAL PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR ONLINE INSTRUCTION
All instructors who teach online or hybrid courses at UNCG beginning Spring 2020 must complete one of the following activities OR, if applicable, they can submit alternative documentation (see below). All other instructors teaching online or hybrid courses prior to Spring 2020 will be exempt from completing this initial professional development component.
- Complete both Ready to Teach (RTT) AND the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS) Training. Both programs are asynchronous and will provide a certificate of completion. (Time: RTT ~2 hours; Canvas training varies depending on experience and desire for depth)
- Complete Online Learning Level 1 hosted by the UTLC. (Time: 8 weeks; ~2 hours/week)
- Complete Academic Technology Specialist (ATS) Training that will incorporate any technology the instructor plans to use, an overview of Universal Design for Learning (including accessibility compliance), discussion of instructional design principles relevant to the course, and a review of the expectations in the Quality Matters Checklist. This may include face-to-face time with an ATS and ATS-directed activities. Upon completion, Academic Technology Specialists will send instructors documentation of their training. To schedule training please contact your ATS. (Time 4.5 hours)
Upon completion of one of the above initial professional development options, instructors need to submit their documentation (e.g. badge, certificate) using the Online Instructor Professional Development Documentation Submission Form.
New UNCG instructors with prior training, extensive experience teaching online, and other qualifications may take an alternative approach to meeting the initial professional development requirement by completing the Alternative Documentation of Professional Development for Online Instruction form.
Completing the form and gathering supporting documentation will take several hours to complete. Alternative Documentation submissions will be reviewed by the CPD workgroup, the unit’s ATS and/or the instructor’s Unit Representative (e.g. Department Chair/Program Director). Once the review process is complete, the instructor may be provided with a waiver of the initial professional development component which they will need to submit using the Online Instructor Professional Development Documentation Submission Form. If a waiver is not provided, the instructor will need to complete one of the three initial professional development options listed above.
NOTE: The Unit Representative (e.g. Department Chair/Program Director) shall be responsible for deciding on teaching assignments, the suitability of an instructor’s ongoing professional development, and unit level procedures for evaluating an instructor’s teaching.
CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES
UNCG instructors who provide online or hybrid instruction must complete continuing professional development specific to online instruction within three years of their initial professional development certification and every three years thereafter. Upon completion of one of the continuing professional development options below, the instructor will need to submit their documentation (e.g. badge, certificate, waiver) using the Online Instructor Professional Development Documentation Submission Form.
- Quality Matters Workshops. Quality Matters (QM) is an organization that helps instructors examine their online course to ensure it meets quality standards. The QM Rubric is widely used across the US. Three workshop options exist.
- QM Option 1: Throughout the year UNCG QM facilitators will host QM workshops including Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR), Designing Your Online Course (DYOC), and Improving Your Online Course (IYOC). There is no cost to instructors or their department. For a list of available QM workshops at UNCG visit workshops.uncg.edu.
Time: 8 hours | Cost: FREE
- QM Option 2: The face-to-face Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR), Designing Your Online Course (DYOC), and Improving Your Online Course (IYOC) workshops are occasionally offered at different institutions across the system. Instructors or their department must cover the cost of registration and travel for this face-to-face CPD option.
Time: 8 hours | Cost: $200-$300 + travel expenses
- QM Option 3: The Quality Matters organization also offers the Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR), Designing Your Online Course (DYOC), and Improving Your Online Course (IYOC) as 2-week online asynchronous online workshops that require about 7-8 hours per week to complete. Instructors or their department must cover the cost of registration for this online CPD option.
Time: 2 weeks (7-8 hours per week) | Cost: $200
- Academic Technology Specialist (ATS) Training. Instructors looking for a more personalized training experience may coordinate with their departmental ATS to receive training on the latest relevant topics in instructional design and technology and how these can be incorporated into the instructor’s online courses. This process may include such activities as a refresher on the Quality Matters Checklist, web accessibility best practices, or assistance in developing or updating an online or hybrid course. Upon completion, Academic Technology Specialists will send instructors documentation of their training. To schedule training please contact your ATS.
Time: 8+ hours combining consultation with the ATS and instructor engagement in ATS-directed activities
- UNCG-specific continuing development opportunities offered by campus partners including:
- Online Learning Level 1: Created by a pan-university group of instructors and staff, this 8-week program is embedded in Canvas and will provide instructors with hands-on experience developing an online course. Ideal for instructors new to online teaching, the program offers the basics of teaching online via Canvas. Using the student learning outcomes for the instructor’s course, the participant develops summative and formative assessments, explores a variety of course formats, searches for and develops new online resources, and decides the best engagement strategies to use and prepare students for their online courses. Taught by a UNCG instructor (UTLC Faculty Fellow for Online Learning), participants will receive focused feedback throughout the program.
Time: 8 weeks (2 hours per week)
- Online Learning Level 2: Also created by a pan-university group of instructors and staff, this 8-week program is embedded in Canvas and provides an instructor with more advanced options for their online course. Ideal for instructors having taught online before, the program offers opportunities to explore the latest features of Canvas and methods for teaching online. Participants review the latest research about what works in online environments, learn new ways for students to collaborate online, create new resources with media tools, explore new ways to facilitate and create assessments, and experience a variety of communication tools from the viewpoint of a student. Co-taught by the UTLC and several offices across campus that serve as resources for instructors, participants will receive focused feedback on their own practice throughout the program.
Time: 8 weeks (2 hours per week)
- Online Learning Level 3: This hybrid course gives faculty members a basic overview of standards for quality online learning while giving participants options to explore additional standards to address specific course concerns. Focusing on experienced online faculty members, this course consists of an in-person, one-day training hosted by UTLC to review online course standards and meet other faculty members to discuss their course needs. After the in-person event, faculty members will be asked to peer review at least one online course and review the feedback for their course provided by a peer, assigned during the in-person session. Organized by the UTLC, Online Level 3 is part of the Online Learning Level Series.
Time: 8 hours (6 hours in person, 2 hours online)
- UNCG Sponsored Summer Conference or Workshop Series (e.g. TOPPS, ADAPT) Offered annually during the summer just after the conclusion of spring courses and just before summer session 1, this event is ideal for instructors new to teaching in an online learning environment, those seasoned in online teaching, or those just thinking about teaching in an online learning environment. Highlighting the latest in online teaching practice, the event centers around a key guest expert in the field of online pedagogy. Participants will have the opportunity to explore a wide variety of online teaching topics, including hands-on workshops presented in a conference style.
Time: 3-5 days / Documentation provided for attending at least one of the three days.
- Online Learning Consortium Workshops: Week-long workshops offered by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC). OLC is a leader in online education and offers a variety of courses, from the basics of online teaching to advanced practices in content development.
Time: 1 week (7-8 hours) | Cost: $170-$800
- OLC Quality Scorecard and Open SUNY Course Quality Review (OSCQR) Workshops: The Online Learning Consortium provides workshops on these two nationally validated design and delivery rubrics for online course design. Participants will learn how to apply the rubrics and how to construct feedback for others.
Time: 1 day to 3 weeks | Cost: ($170-$750)
- Academic Technology Specialist Online Course Review. An instructor can meet with their departmental Academic Technology Specialist (ATS) who will review their course(s) by applying criteria one of the following: Quality Matters checklist, SUNY Course Quality Review, or OLC Quality Scorecard to be used for either formative or evaluative purposes. Reports of the results of the review may be used to inform to the Unit Representative (e.g., Department Chair/Program Director) at the instructor’s discretion. To schedule a course review please contact your ATS.
Time: Varies depending on the instrument used
- Web Accessibility 101: A UNCG-developed, self-paced, online course in Canvas that introduces instructors to the basics of accessibility, with emphasis placed on making content accessible while promoting proactive (as opposed to reactive) steps that people can take to create and advocate for accessible content. Instructors will learn the language of accessibility, the laws that most impact higher education, how to create accessible content, the principles of Universal Design for Learning, and other useful information pertaining to accessible technology and the experience of people with disabilities.
Time: 4-8 hours
- Online Instructor Development Workshops: Three-day, face-to-face workshops hosted by UTLC for departments looking for professional development opportunities for their online instructors. Though each workshop is tailored to the needs of the participants, a typical workshop will include a discussion of best practices, Canvas and WebEx tutorials, and presentations by other services available to online instructors such as the University Libraries, Digital Media Commons, and the Digital Act Studio. To schedule a workshop please contact UTLC.
Time: 2-3 days
- Alternative Documentation. Instructors who would like to submit a continuing professional development option that is not listed above may complete the Alternative Documentation of Professional Development for Online Instruction form. Completing the form and gathering supporting documentation could take up to an hour. Alternative Documentation submissions will be reviewed by the CPD workgroup, the unit’s Academic Technology Specialist and/or the instructor’s Unit Representative (e.g. Department Chair/Program Director). Once the review process is complete, the instructor may be provided with a waiver of the continuing professional development component which they will need to submit using the Online Instructor Professional Development Documentation Submission Form. If a waiver is not provided, the instructor will need to complete one of the continuing professional development options listed above.
NOTE: The Unit Representative (e.g. Department Chair/Program Director) shall be responsible for deciding on teaching assignments, the suitability of an instructor’s professional development, and unit level procedures for evaluating an instructor’s teaching.
FACULTY SUPPORT SERVICES AND ONLINE TEACHING FELLOWS
- Faculty Support Service for Online Instruction. Support services for online teaching are available from multiple units across campus (UTLC, the Library, ITS, departmental Academic ITCs, etc.). UTLC will identify and catalog these support services for faculty. This repository of support services will be housed on the UTLC website.
- Online Teaching Fellows. The Fellows consists of individuals who have shown sustained evidence of outstanding professional development or support contributions and/or superlative performance in online or blended instruction. As a collective, Fellows would assist units across the campus in various matters pertaining to online education. The Faculty Senate Online Learning Committee (FSOLC) establishes the description and evaluation criteria for the Fellow. The UTLC would facilitate the program by working directly with the Fellows to connect them to various faculty development programs across campus. Fellow designations will last three years, renewal is possible, and members will be exempt from Continuing Professional Development expectations during the period of their appointment.
SUBMITTING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT MATERIALS
All online instructors (i.e., faculty, adjunct instructors, graduate students, and EHRA non-faculty instructors) will submit documentation materials (e.g. badge, certificate, waiver) using the Online Instructor Professional Development Documentation Submission Form. Once shared, submissions will be documented in Banner and accessible by an instructor’s Unit Representative (i.e., Department Chair/Program Director, or their designee).
EVALUATION OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS FOR ONLINE INSTRUCTION, ONLINE COURSES, AND INSTRUCTORS
In order to improve professional development materials, evaluation methods will be developed to understand their impact on online instruction.
- Evaluation of Professional Development Programs for Online Instruction. An evaluation protocol will be developed to assess the impact of UNCG programs for professional development and support of online instruction. This evaluation protocol will be implemented once after instructors have taught an initial online course after receiving the professional development. Data will be used to improve subsequent professional development programs.
The procedures outlined in this document will be re-evaluated every three years by the CPD Workgroup which includes representation from UTLC, Office of Assessment, Accreditation, and Academic Program Planning, Academic Technology Specialist and instructor representation, and the Faculty Senate Online Committee.
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Last Revised: July 15, 2021