Envisioning SLN Education: draft project plan

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SLN Education Mission Statement

“Our mission is to support SUNY campuses, instructional designers and  SUNY online faculty to create engaging, and technically and instructionally robust learning environments in which to teach and learn.”

SLN faculty development accomplishes this with a focus on:

Support • Community • Reflection • Pedagogy • Learning • Sharing • Example • Engagement • Respect • Interaction • Expectations • Collaboration • Flexibility • Simplicity • Satisfaction • Theory • Practice • Research

Our Roadmap…

•    Objective: Develop large numbers of faculty to teach online and insure consistent and effective courses developed within a specific time frame.

•    Process: Implement a scalable and replicable process to train large numbers of faculty to produce technically and instructionally sound courses. Large-scale production requires that we continuously improve the mechanisms we use to support & train large numbers of faculty and produce large numbers of courses of consistent quality with high levels of faculty and student satisfaction.

•    Result: Comprehensive and successful large-scale faculty development program and course design process. By using a comprehensive and integrated faculty development and course design approach, we avoid cookie cutter mass production by working with individual faculty and allowing them and their content to drive course design. Our processes are iterative, ever evolving, and flexible.

•    Methods: 4-stage faculty development process, 7-step course design process, SLN IDs, SLN campus-based IDs, faculty development activities, etc.

•    Benefit: We have the opportunity to influence and share best practices across the design of all courses.

Learn from faculty – what they find works . . .

Research – Share stuff we know works . . .

•    Measuring success:

2000 EDUCAUSE Award for Systemic Progress in Teaching and Learning

2001 Sloan-C award for Excellence in ALN Faculty Development

2002 Sloan-C award for Excellence in Institution-Wide ALN Programming

2003 Sloan-C Award for Excellence in Online Teaching awarded to Prof. William Pelz – SLN lead trainer and online faculty

2006 USDLA 21st Century Best Practice Award – Online Technology – Higher Education

2009 NUTN Distance Education Innovation Award

Average percentages over the last 11 years:

90% of faculty surveyed are satisfied with SLN and with their online course development and teaching experience.

95% of faculty surveyed would teach again and would recommend online teaching to others.

90% students consistently report satisfaction with SLN and their online course experiences and report learning.

We believe that Instructional design is about creating rich robust teaching and learning environments with opportunities for interaction with course content, between students, and with the instructor. Successful, effective, and satisfied online instructors have effective course designs and effective teaching practices. We know that this can be achieved efficiently and consistently on a large scale with a comprehensive approach to: the support of faculty, their development as online instructors, and effective instructional design. We accomplish this via the award winning SLN faculty development and course design process that include and rely on a commitment to the following approaches and resources:

Keys to our success:

  • Faculty must have time for reflection and feel free to voice their questions, issues and concerns.
  • Opportunity for self-reflection.
  • Opportunity for self evaluation and assessment.
  • Faculty development is tailored and customized to the needs and personality of the instructor.
  • Process recognizes and leverages faculty experiences and expertise.
  • Opportunities for participation in online courses or discussion to gain the student perspective.
  • Opportunities for reflection, evaluation, and revision.
  • Observation of live online exemplar courses in a variety of disciplines using a variety of pedagogical approaches.
  • Access to experienced faculty.
  • Opportunities for inter/intra disciplinary networking, peer support/training.
  • Opportunities for building community, networking, and peer interaction for faculty and MIDs and ACs.
  • A series of online and f2f faculty development activities leading to online teaching certification and opportunities for continued professional development.

-Series of trainings for new and experienced faculty.

  • Faculty-driven course design– pedagogy not imposed by the CMS application, or the instructional designer.
  • Faculty must develop the course themselves.
  • Peer support/training and trainers. Award-winning and experienced online faculty as lead trainers.
  • Promote a student-centered constructivist approach to learning where engagement, interaction, collaboration, and class community are key.
  • Apply andragogical principles to course design and in our faculty development itself.
  • Assist faculty to develop an online voice and digital persona.
  • Focus is on pedagogy/andragogy, not technology. We do not train what buttons to push. We start with who are you? what do you teach? how do you teach in the classroom? what are your learning objectives? – then move to -how do you achieve that online given the options and limitations of the environment? Reconceptualization.
  • An iterative approach to course design that supports and facilitates continuous review, revision and improvements to course design and management practices.
  • We are practitioners  –SLN online instructional designers are also online instructors.
  • Individual instructional design support.

-Master IDs: ID mentors, lead trainers, QA testers, core ID team, train IDs, R&D, CoolTools, etc.

-Campus-based instructional designers: campus delivered activities that “wrap around” the centrally provided supports.

-Community: resources and events: ID team meetings, CIT, SOLSummit.

  • Collecting and sharing best practices.
  • Longitudinal, systematic data collection and analysis — nationally recognized scholarly work to back us up.
  • Resources and support in a variety of media, e.g., handbook, SLN101, The SLN faculty center, etc.
  • Responsive Technical HelpDesk support.
  • Robust, reliable, stable network & technology.
  • Course template that makes technology transparent to scaffold faculty with an effective quick start course design.
  • Guidelines to milestone course development that follow a comprehensive faculty development process of experience, observation, interaction, training, practice, course development, feedback, review and revision.
  • Research-based rubrics (checklists) for formative and summative course reviews that guide design/practices.
  • Respect for the teaching and learning transaction.
  • Customer service approach to support.

Our work assumes faculty have:

  • Passion for teaching!
  • Willingness to “rethink” how they teach.
  • Commitment and time to develop.
  • Institutional/Administrative support.
  • Complete course prior to teaching.
  • Ability to assume the perspective of the online student to anticipate student questions.
  • The ability to think through and document and write workflow.
  • Instructional design support and expertise. An online faculty development process (training = pedagogy/best practices and how to).