Examples of Faculty Development Pathways

“The Higher Education Academy (HEA) in the UK offers a variety of professional training and development specifically tailored for higher education.” Example of a Faculty Development Pathway

This section will highlight several institutions and key elements of their faculty development programs. The programs reviewed made a direct connection to the work of the Jowallah, Futch, Barrett-Greenly, and Bennett 2016 model described above.

University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida’s (UCF) approach to online faculty development is predominantly focused on supporting faculty in their transition to the online environment.  The unit that has responsibility for the training is the Center of Distributed Learning (CDL). This unit has two ‘flagship’ courses, ADL5000 and IDL6543. ADL5000 is a foundational noncredit course, which allows instructors to teach existing online courses or blended courses. To design and deliver an original online or blended course, instructors must complete IDL6543. Once participants are selected to enroll in IDL6543, they are assigned an instructional designer who will provide one-to-one consultation over the ten week duration of the course. These one-to-one consultations, along with course activities, are designed to allow participants to develop key knowledge of  online pedagogy, use of technology, and appropriate methods for online assessments. Participants are also expected to engage in critical reflection as they participate in various online discussions and peer review sessions. Successful completion of IDL6543 is necessary for staff to teach online.

One of the major objectives of IDL6543 is for faculty to demonstrate their ability to develop an online course. Completion of IDL6543 is marked by instructors showcasing one of the modules they have developed. Instructors who complete the program will be provided with ongoing support to develop their courses. IDL6543 allows for ongoing participant evaluation and the feedback is reviewed by an Annual Review Committee. Modifications are made for future delivery of the course using the feedback from faculty, . The model used by UCF allows for ongoing consideration to quality assurance, both internally and externally. For additional information on UCF faculty development programs, please visit https://online.ucf.edu/teach-online/professional-development/idl6543/ .

Seminole State College

Understanding that buy-in and faculty involvement is the key to successful eLearning, the focus of the eLearning unit at Seminole State College at the Sanford/Lake Mary and their sister campuses is building relationships with faculty members to foster continuous, reflective enhancements of their online courses. The unit fosters an agile strategy for supporting quality, interactive course design at the College.

This 4-year, medium sized, primarily nonresidential college within the Florida College System has accomplished building a faculty development model. The eLearning unit requires faculty to complete Canvas Basics and the 10-week online, Online Course Development where faculty walk away with a quality online course that they have built and the knowledge of best practices for online course design and teaching. Additionally, the eLearning unit makes available comprehensive support resources about building affordable courses with Open Educational Resources, library available resources, and instructions for faculty to publish their own content. Student Perception of Instruction (SPI) end-of-course survey results and Canvas data analytics offer insights into the effectiveness of faculty development efforts.

Year round available instructional design consultations may focus on empowering faculty members to be their own tech support, incorporating open educational resources into courses, guiding faculty to utilize course templates, and guiding faculty to design courses for effective student outcomes, including mobile-friendly courses. Each instructional designer has a technological specialty. Faculty receive instructional design services any time of the year, but are especially critical during Fall and Winter Conferences to kick off these semesters. There, an overview of services and available tools is presented, as well as direct instructional design consultations at the 4-hour block Minute Clinics.

Florida State College at Jacksonville

Demonstrating excellence in cross-functional unit support for faculty development, Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) faculty development program caters to a geographically dispersed faculty body. With 60% faculty who predominantly design master courses and 40% adjuncts who predominantly facilitate those courses, FSCJ successfully collaborates across Human Resources, Information Technology, and Academic Affairs (or Academic & Career Programs) to provide professional development to their faculty members’ online and blended education efforts. FSCJ provides course production guidance, faculty led professional development, physical sites for stop-in design and technology support, travel funds, and learning management system training and communications. 

The Center for eLearning streamlines their course production process with instructional design, development and multimedia services to support FSCJ Online. The course production process follows a project methodology modeled after ADDIE and includes beta testing prior to launch. The methodology entails a partnership between a program and instructional designers for consistency across courses. Faculty focus on creating course content and rubrics, with instructional designers actually building the course using a template, as well as facilitating faculty to use low or no cost instructional materials. Faculty are encouraged to search for open educational resources module components of courses at FSCJ to use in their own course. Stipends are issued for full-time faculty members’ successful production of a blueprint course that adjuncts may teach, or for substantially modifying an existing course, or for receiving a Quality course designation from a Quality Matters course review. 

Faculty receive the technological support necessary for operating features in their newly adopted Canvas Learning Management System through systematized and customized training from a unit in Information Technology. During the recent migration to Canvas, a coordinated change management plan with course development transition support from the Center of eLearning team and robust communication to several levels of the organization provided faculty the support they needed to make the transition. 

Fairly unique to faculty development models, a team of FSCJ faculty lead symposiums and workshops supported by a grant from FSCJ. Their aim is to ensure that other faculty receive the training necessary to acquire the pedagogical and instructional competencies for successful online teaching. Many of these faculty led professional development offerings are discipline specific, tailored to engage faculty in participation.

Organizational development services in Human Resources focuses on general outcomes of all these efforts. This unit also serves as a hub to connect general professional development efforts at FSCJ. Overall, these functional units collaborate effectively to support faculty members’ designing and teaching in online programs (or online and blended courses).

Florida Atlantic University (FAU)

Similar to UCF, Florida Atlantic University (FAU) has a unique model for developing courses for online delivery. Faculty must first demonstrate their interest in developing an online course by submitting an “e design Proposal Form.” Final approval or recommendations for proposals resubmitted are made by the Director of eLearning.  Once approval is granted, the faculty will work with an assigned instructional designer (ID) to develop their online course.  The faculty, who is a subject matter expert (SME), is required to meet with the instructional designer weekly. The Quality Matters rubric is used throughout the development of the online course. The instructional designer’s role in the process is that of consultant, through ongoing consultations with the faculty.  The planned consultations are designed to (1) set expectations and create a project plan; (2) create the course blueprint; (3) develop the course content; and (4) enable the peer review process.  For additional information on FAU faculty development program, please visit http://fauelearning.com/faculty/faculty-support/course-development/ .

University of North Florida (UNF)

The University of North Florida (UNF) offers an aligned program for faculty development to guide faculty about best practices for the design and delivery of high-quality online learning experiences, as well as for transitioning faculty to teach in online programs. Faculty receive recognition and incentives for progressing through the Center for Instruction and Research Technology (CIRT) faculty development programming. CIRT offers an array of services to assist faculty and engage them to develop greater capacities for using technology for teaching and research. For additional information about the University of North Florida faculty development program, please visit the Center for Instruction and Research Technology Faculty Development Model.

Instructional Technology & Canvas Support

CIRT provides faculty with assistance in utilizing the Canvas learning management system, along with other instructional technologies such as Canvas Studio and the Ally accessibility checker. Both instructors and students have access to the Canvas support line and chat services. Faculty members receive comprehensive support for instructional technologies, accessibility needs, and Canvas from professional staff and online learning assistants. For UNF students requiring technical assistance, the ITS Help Desk is readily available.

Affordable Content Initiative

Instructional designers and designated online learning librarians encourage, support, and offer guidance for low-cost or no-cost instructional content. The open educational resource program seeks to lower college costs for UNF students by encouraging UNF faculty to adopt quality open resources in their courses. Faculty are encouraged to participate in this program and receive a stipend after fully integrating open educational resources into their courses.

Accessibility Support

Faculty have the opportunity to engage in professional development in designing and developing accessible courses. They gain exposure to accessibility features in Canvas as well as training on how Ally can assist with changing documents into more accessible formats. Instructional designers and a coordinator guide accessible course development through consultations and training.

Penn State World Campus

Similar to UNF, Penn State World campus offers a catalog of courses. From this catalog, five online courses form the basis of the Certificate for Online Teaching. The five courses include:

  • OL100: Introduction to the World Campus. This course allows participants to gain knowledge of the resources available and an awareness of World Campus commitment to students.
  • OL1800: Accessibility allows faculty to have knowledge of various accessibility issues in higher education and provides guidance on how these accessibility issues can be addressed using best practices.
  • OL1900: Prove it! This is a self-paced course designed to allow faculty to develop competency in using the Learning Management System (LMS).
  • OL 2000: Effective Online Teaching. This course focuses on preparing faculty for the implementation of sound online teaching and learning pedagogy.
  • OL2700: Online presence. This course highlights the need for the importance of instructors’ presence within the online environment. The course outlines strategies that instructors can use to create or enhance their online presence.

For additional information on Penn State Online faculty development program, please visit http://wcfd.psu.edu/certificates/ .

The Open University UK

The Open University, founded in 1969, serves the region of United Kingdom and other parts of Europe. All materials for programs are developed and produced by the Open University Press. The majority of the teaching staff are part-time workers and are classified as associate lecturers. Associate lecturers work in the region that their students reside. In order to support associate lecturers’ effective practices, an induction program is implemented to guide the associate lecturers on their roles and responsibilities online. During the induction process, associate lecturers are appointed an experienced mentor. Supervising the mentor, will be the line manager, a full-time staff tutor or regional manager.  The role of the mentor is to offer continuous guidance to the newly appointed associate lecturer. At times, both mentor and mentee will have meetings. There are no requirements for the mentor and mentee to meet face-to-face. The mentor will review samples of assignments from the mentee and provide feedback to the mentee and the line manager. The line manager on receiving the feedback, will review and provide formal feedback to the mentee. This monitoring process occurs over a two year period. The Open University also offers extensive technical support to all teaching staff. The Open University has continued to produce a high volume of research that guide their process and practices for online teaching and learning.

Independent Faculty Training

  • Higher Education Academy in UK

While it may be standard practice for most educational institutions to have internal training and development programs, there are external organizations that offer staff development program for online instructors. For example, The Higher Education Academy (HEA) in the UK offers a variety of professional training and development specifically tailored for higher education. In addition to these training, Higher Education Academy offers consultancy services to institutions in the UK as well as internationally. HEA also offers recognition and accreditation with the focus of recognizing teaching quality. Like HEA, The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) offers a certificate program, which focuses primarily on preparing faculty to teach online or improve their online courses. Please use the links below to access additional information on these independent faculty training providers.