today i was asked this question: What are some of the reasons faculty are not interested in teaching online?

As it happens we have looked at this . In studies and focus groups we did on SLN faculty and replicated elsewhere we found that:

  1. The top faculty motivator to teach online is a more flexible work schedule.
  2. The top faculty demotivator to teaching online is inadequate compensation for perceived greater work than for traditionally delivered courses, especially for online course development, revision, and teaching.

 

In general we have found that:

  1. the leading online faculty motivators include the flexibility allowed by being able to teach “anytime/anywhere;” better/more personal interaction and community building supported by the medium; the technical and creativity challenges offered by this mode of teaching; being able to reach more (and more diverse) students; and better course management.
  2. Major sources of dissatisfaction among online faculty are more work, medium limitations, lack of adequate support and policies for teaching online, and the fact that the medium is not a good fit for some students.

 

Here are the citations and links to the articles. For additional detail,  go straight to the results and discussion sections of the papers. They are pretty readable.

Shea, P. (2007). Bridges and barriers to teaching online college courses: A study of experienced online faculty at 36 colleges. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 11(2), 73-128.  Preprint

Hiltz, R., Shea, P., & Kim, E. (2007). Using focus groups to study ALN faculty motivation. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 11(1), 107-124.  http://sloanconsortium.org/jaln/v14n1/using-focus-groups-study-aln-faculty-motivation

more than “no significant difference”

No Significant Difference: http://www.nosignificantdifference.org/

A Multilevel analysis of the effect  of prompting self-regulation in technology-delivered instruction
Traci Sitzmann, Bradford S. Bell, Kurt Kraiger, Adam M. Kanar
Published in Personnel Psychology
http://adlcommunity.net/file.php/13/Web-Based_Training_Meta-Analysis/WBI_Conference_Proceedings.pdf
Meta analysis found that web-based instruction was more effective that classroom instruction for teaching declarative knowledge.

National survey of student engagement 2008
Indiana University – George Kuh
http://nsse.iub.edu/

Results show online students are more engaged than F2F students.

Bernard, Robert M.,  Ph.D.
Professor of Education, Educational Technology, Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance
http://doe.concordia.ca/Faculty/?page=faculty_list&categoryid=5&facultyid=10
Results show that online students out perform f2f students

US Department of Education
Evaluation of evidence -based practices in online learning – a meta-analysis and review of online learning studies – 2009
The meta analysis found that on average students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving f2f instruction. And that students in blended learning conditions performed better than those receiving online or f2f instruction.
http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/opepd/ppss/reports.html#edtech

Internet-Based Learning in the Health Professions
A Meta-analysis
David A. Cook, MD, MHPE; Anthony J. Levinson, MD, MSc; Sarah Garside, MD, PhD; Denise M. Dupras, MD, PhD; Patricia J. Erwin, MLS; Victor M. Montori, MD, MSc
JAMA. 2008;300(10):1181-1196.
http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/300/10/1181
The meta analysis found that Internet-based instruction is associated with favorable outcomes across a wide variety of learners, learning contexts, clinical topics, and learning outcomes. Internet-based instruction appears to have a large effect compared with no intervention and appears to have an effectiveness similar to traditional methods.

Online Teaching and a Catalyst for Classroom-based Transformation
http://www.suny.edu/sunytrainingcenter/files/Faculty01.pdf

Online learning vs. Classroom instruction

No Significant Difference: http://www.nosignificantdifference.org/

What Student Affairs Professionals Need to Know About Student Engagement
George D. Kuh
Journal of College Student Development, Volume 50, Number 6, November/December 2009, pp. 683-706 (Article)

A MULTILEVEL ANALYSIS OF THE EFFECT OF PROMPTING SELF-REGULATION IN TECHNOLOGY-DELIVERED INSTRUCTION
TRACI SITZMANN 1 BRADFORD S. BELL 2 KURT KRAIGER 3 ADAM M. KANAR 4
Published in Personnel Psychology
http://adlcommunity.net/file.php/13/Web-Based_Training_Meta-Analysis/WBI_Conference_Proceedings.pdf
-Meta analysis found that Web-based instruction was more effective than classroom instruction for teaching declarative knowledge.

National survey of student engagement 2008 – Indiana University – George Kuh – online students are more engaged than F2f students
http://nsse.iub.edu/

Bernard, Robert M.. Ph.D.
http://doe.concordia.ca/Faculty/?page=faculty_list&categoryid=5&facultyid=10
Professor of Education, Educational Technology, Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance
Online students out perform f2f students

US department of education – evaluation of evidence -based practices in online learning – a meta-analysis and review of online learning studies – 2009
The meta analysis found that on average students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving f2f instruction. And that students in blended learning conditions performed better than those receiving online or f2f instruction.
http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/opepd/ppss/reports.html#edtech

Internet-Based Learning in the Health Professions
A Meta-analysis
David A. Cook, MD, MHPE; Anthony J. Levinson, MD, MSc; Sarah Garside, MD, PhD; Denise M. Dupras, MD, PhD; Patricia J. Erwin, MLS; Victor M. Montori, MD, MSc
JAMA. 2008;300(10):1181-1196.
http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/300/10/1181
The meta analysis found that Internet-based instruction is associated with favorable outcomes across a wide variety of learners, learning contexts, clinical topics, and learning outcomes. Internet-based instruction appears to have a large effect compared with no intervention and appears to have an effectiveness similar to traditional methods.

ONLINE TEACHING AS A CATALYST FOR CLASSROOM-BASED INSTRUCTIONAL TRANSFORMATION – http://www.suny.edu/sunytrainingcenter/files/Faculty01.pdf

SLN Course Design Process – history

From “Student Satisfaction and Perceived Learning with On-line Courses – Principles and Examples from the SUNY Learning Network” August 1999.
this section written by Alexandra M. Pickett

Introduction
The SUNY Learning Network has developed a course design process to help faculty create instructionally and technically robust learning environments in which to teach and learn. We began the development of our course design process with sound instructional design principles and an existing understanding of distance learning and computer-mediated instruction. Working with hundreds of SUNY SLN faculty and students we have now refined our understanding of on-line teaching and learning and provide our faculty with a comprehensive instructional model that has a thorough framework to guide the design of on-line asynchronous courses. This section will detail our course design process and what we have learned is effective in the design of asynchronous learning environments.

Background
Beginning in 1994, traditional faculty were hired to create on-line courses for asynchronous delivery into the home via computer. Each faculty member worked with an instructional design partner to implement the course. From the fall of 1995 through spring of 1997, forty courses were developed and delivered, and the instructional designer conducted interviews, collected empirical data, and made observations. Our objectives during this period were to identify best practices, synthesize scaleable and replicable processes, develop tools and resources, and implement production.

Rationale
Our objective has always been to develop faculty to teach on-line, and at the same time insure that they create consistent and effective courses within a specific, limited time frame. This required us to develop a scaleable and replicable process to train large numbers of faculty to produce technically and instructionally sound courses according to what we have learned works best in the design of on-line instruction. Following more than 400 faculty through their full course development and delivery cycles has enabled us to gather a comprehensive understanding of what works in an on-line teaching/learning environment. Our course design process was synthesized from that understanding. Our comprehensive and integrated faculty development and course design processes are the cornerstones of this program and significantly contribute to our success.

Our processes and our understanding in this area have been evolutionary in nature. Access to large numbers of faculty, courses, and students has been the most significant factor in our ability to synthesize a general understanding of effective on-line teaching and learning, and course design. We are able to collect data, evaluate, and revise specific elements of our program to incorporate our growing understanding. All our faculty and course design resources and services reflect our current findings and are refined as our understanding grows. The knowledge we have is explicitly designed into the template application that we created, and is outlined in detail in our course developer handbook. This information is also shared with all of our on-line faculty through our trainings, support, and on-line resources.

We quickly learned that faculty needed guidance and help understanding the options and limitations of this new type of classroom. The need for the multimedia instructional design partner (MID) in our program emerged from our direct work with faculty. We have learned that developing effective on-line instructors and instruction have both technical and instructional aspects that are not necessarily intuitive or analogous to the traditional classroom. For example, there are technical hardware and software issues that require on-going support in working with faculty. The majority of our faculty require some kind of technical support and training. Training was required and developed specifically for our program and the applications developed in-house for both faculty and students targeted point-and-click level users. It was clear from the beginning that all faculty required one-on-one support in addition to any group training or documentation they received. The role of the MID evolved to support faculty during their early development with our applications and to help them develop a firm understanding of the options and limitations of this new classroom.

The MID helps faculty to design courses and learning activities in a manner consistent with our growing knowledge of best practices. They also help instructors to fully understand the limitations students face with potentially slow, remote access and its implications for effective course design. The need to apply a consistent structure to the chunks of a course, and the need to provide detailed explanations, and consistent and redundant instructional cues for students throughout course documents could only be achieved consistently and on a large scale by the MID working one-on-one with faculty. Helping faculty complete the development of their on-line course prior to the first day of class is another challenge and reason for the role of the MID in the course development process. Without them to insure that faculty fully develop the materials and activities and test the functionality of their courses, we would not have a consistent way to insure technically and instructionally sound courses.

We recommend that courses be complete on the day the course starts for several reasons. A complete course gives students the sense of the course as a whole. A stable environment with a consistent design and redundant instructional cues must be designed and tested. This can’t happen on the fly. Common complaints from faculty include that students will work ahead in the class, or that imposing this constraint prevents the spontaneity or flexibility that exists in the traditional classroom. In the same way that classroom students will rarely read ahead in a book or begin assignments in advance, we have learned that on-line students rarely work ahead of the pace set by the instructor. The advantage to students is that, with the course structure complete, they can get a sense of the topic and of the scope of the activities they will be doing in much the same way as browsing through the course syllabus, or leafing through the chapters of a book. We have also learned that the way to insure a flexible on-line classroom is to pre-design a consistent course module structure that contains explanations and shell documents that can accommodate the interests of the students, the spontaneity of the instructor, or that can incorporate current events. A complete course will also allow faculty to concentrate on teaching and managing the course and participating fully with the students, rather then trying to plan the next lesson, or checking functionality.

The SLN Course Design Process


Method
To begin the process, we ask faculty to think about the development of their course as a conversion of what they normally do in their traditional classroom, rather than a re-creation. Conversion requires that they “rethink” their learning activities and objectives within the context of the electronic asynchronous learning environment — its options and resources, as well as its limitations, and that they then redesign how they will meet their instructional objectives and how they will assess learning.

For new SLN faculty the first stage in their development as on-line instructors is to get on-line and access the SLN Faculty Developer Gateway (http://SLN.suny.edu/developer) There they are introduced to the SLN faculty development and course design processes. They participate in a facilitated on-line conference to network with our growing community of on-line instructors, and to get the feel for on-line discussion in the asynchronous web environment. In Stage Two, faculty begin to conceptualize their course. They complete an on-line orientation to the web course environment and they also have the opportunity to observe a variety of live on-line courses that have been selected as models to help them get a sense of the possibilities and to get the look and feel of the on-line classroom. Stage Three is the SLN Course Development stage. They are asked to attend three workshops. At the first workshop, faculty receive a customized course template created in Lotus Notes, access to our networked system and on-line resources, and a step by step guide for building the components of their course. They are also assigned an instructional design partner (MID) to work with them throughout their first course development and delivery cycles and have access to a helpdesk for technology support. Note that it is not until Stage 3 of our faculty development process that faculty are introduced to the technology that they will use to create their course. Our primary focus is on developing and supporting on-line faculty and effective on-line pedagogy, not on the technology.

Course Development Process
Step 1: Get Started
Before beginning work in their course template to design their course, we recommend that faculty begin to visualize their course in an asynchronous on-line environment. We ask that they assess their current instructional practices and relate them to distance learning principles. We ask them to reflect on what they do in the classroom compared to what they imagine doing in the on-line version of their course. We help them to identify some learning activities and methods of evaluation appropriate to asynchronous learning. We also ask that they draft a profile of their course. Much of the conceptual work in designing their course and our current understandings of effective course design are built into this stage of course development.

Reflection and Conceptualization
We have found that successful courses begin with faculty that can effectively articulate a description of their course. Using a narrative, conversational tone, we ask faculty to prepare a profile of their course that responds to these questions as though a student has asked them: What will I get out of taking this course? What is this study about? How is this course organized? What exactly will I be doing when I take this course? How will you assess my work? What constitutes “good” work in the course? We ask faculty to make their profile “user friendly,” by writing their responses as though addressing a single student. With this we begin to shift faculty from thinking about addressing a classroom of students toward addressing the individual on-line student sitting alone in front of a computer interacting with their on-line course materials and activities. We have found that well-articulated answers to these questions become the foundation for the actual course information and orientation documents that are necessary for students to be well oriented and welcomed into an on-line classroom.

We then ask faculty to document the details of their course including any prerequisites for participation, such as additional software or special hardware or other media or tools, if guest speakers will participate, etc. This step begins to alert faculty to the planning necessary in setting up their course. Prerequisites must be documented in advance in order to insure that students come to the course prepared and that the technology can accommodate the instructor’s plans.

Step 2: Create an Orientation
We have found certain specific orientation information effective to introduce the student to the on-line learning environment. A student that is well oriented to the instructor, the course, and the instructor’s expectations, will have fewer questions and will feel more comfortable in the on-line classroom. We have identified nine orientation documents that provide students the “walls” to their on-line classroom. The purposes of orientation documents are to cover the range of initial information students may need to become familiar with the instructor, the course, and general course-related information. They are:

1. Welcome
Introduces the instructor and the course to the students. We ask faculty to think of it as a letter of introduction. It sets the tone, and is the students’ first “glimpse” of the instructor.

    2. Contact Information
    Details specific information about the course, how to contact the instructor, and the instructor’s schedule.

    3. Course Overview & Objectives
    Describes the course and course objectives in greater detail.

    4. Readings and Materials
    Details the texts and/or materials to be used in the course. Can list optional/additional reading materials or resources for course.

    5. Course Learning Activities
    Describes specifically each type of activity that the students will be doing during the course.

    6. How you will be evaluated
    Details specifically how each activity will be evaluated.

    7. My Expectations
    Details specifically what the instructor expects from students in terms of participation in the class and/or any other specific expectations the instructor may have for students in their class.

    8. Course Schedule
    Clearly outlines every activity the student needs to do in the instructor’s course including reading assignments, assignment due dates, scheduled tests and quizzes, special projects, discussions, group activities. Titles and references to documents and modules in the course must be consistent for the schedule to be effective.

    9. Next Steps
    Some of the next tasks a student should do might include reading any posted announcements, posting a personal profile, participating in an ice-breaking assignments, etc.

Step 3: Chunk the course into Modules
In designing the modules of a course the instructor’s pedagogical approach, the nature of the content or discipline, and the constraints and features of the on-line asynchronous environment determine how an instructor will “chunk” his course. We suggest that faculty look at their content, consider how they want to teach it, and see if chunks naturally emerge. We also recommend that faculty look at examples of how others have “chunked” their courses and provide model courses for observation for this purpose. We have found course structures to be as varied and individual as the instructors themselves. Neither the MIDs nor our SLN course template imposes a pedagogical structure onto the instructor or the course. Certain course design structures have emerged as distinct and recognizable across our courses. They include course structures by topic, by task, by chapters in a textbook, by timeframes, by steps in a process, by metaphor and by combinations of these general structures, such as time and topic.

This is the most important and most difficult step for faculty. It is important, we have found, to allow faculty to create their own course materials and determine the structure of their course. Faculty must have ownership of and investment in their own course, and ultimately the ability to teach and manage the course without relying on support.

Step 4: Create learning activities in your course modules
Just as the instructor’s pedagogical objectives, the nature of their content, their personal style, and the features and constraints of the web shaped the module structure of their course, so too will they shape the section structure and specific learning activities for their course.

We ask faculty to:
1. List the learning activities that they envision for each of their modules. They then draft a name or title for each activity.
2. Do they foresee students working through the learning activities in a specific order? If so, they draft the list of the learning activities in that order. If not, list them in a logical order for each module.
3. Does a pattern of activities emerge? For example, activities may logically group by topic, task, or date. Grouping the activities in a logical and consistent scheme across modules will help the instructor enhance and organize course materials and activities. Consistency in the structure and order of activities across modules also helps students in their understanding and navigation of the course, materials, and activities.

The instructor then creates a draft name for each learning activity that is descriptive and unambiguous. We recommend that they keep the titles short and to the point. And, that they consider putting due dates, type of task, and a descriptive name in the title. We recommend the use of consistent naming conventions across modules and for similar types of activities.

Once the instructor has decided on the general module framework for their course, their task is to plan out their learning activities within each module. At this stage sequencing and consistency will be very important. A well-designed course will be consistent and logical in its presentation and organization. For example, a typical module could begin with an overview, followed by some introductory material or lecture. Students are then typically given tasks, such as a reading in a textbook, creating a written assignment, and/or participating in an on-line discussion, or directed to complete some on-line or offline project or activity. We ask the instructor to consider the sequence of the learning activities for each module, the quantity of the learning activities for each module, and the pacing of the learning activities for each module.

Navigation
Faculty also need to think about how their students will interact with their materials and navigate their course. Any course management tool will have built-in navigational buttons and a web interface that facilitates students’ navigation through all the levels of web screens. However, an instructor must not assume that their students will know what to do and where to go next. Faculty will need to create navigational documents and instructions on their documents that explicitly tell their students where to go next and what to do.

For maximum effectiveness of navigational instructions, they should be consistent. We recommend that they use the same font, put them in the same location on pages, and use consistent wording for the instructions. Instructors can also use the section title and the document title to highlight a type of task, a due date, or a time frame.

Evaluation
As part of this step we also ask faculty to consider carefully how they evaluate students. Timed multiple-choice tests for example can’t be proctored in this environment. Nor can students be observed in person to ascertain certain skills. Working in this environment may require creativity and the design of new evaluation methods.
At this stage we ask faculty to:
· Review the list of learning activities that they created and take a moment to think about how they plan to assess or evaluate student work, performance, or learning for each activity.
· Look at the evaluation document they created in their syllabus and orientation area. Have they assigned appropriate values to the types of activities in their course? Do they match the actual activities they have planned? For example, is discussion 60% of the course and only 25% of the grade?
· How will they evaluate discussion, if it is a component of their course?
· Review the workload for students and for themselves. How many students are they likely to have? What if they have a very small number of enrollments? What if they have a very large number of enrollments? Will the activities they are planning still work? What alternatives do they have?
· Give some thought to workload and course management. The more students know about the tasks, activities, expectations, requirements and how they will be evaluated, the more comfortable and confident they will be participating in the course and the better able the instructor will be to manage the course.

An Instructional Design Intensive workshop during this step helps faculty identify instructional and technical solutions to create the learning activities in their course and effectively achieve the instructional objectives they have for their course.

Step 5: Walk through the course
An integral part of the design stage of the course development process is the evaluation and revision of the course modules as the instructor develops them. If possible and time permits, they may want to have an outside reviewer such as colleague or expert in the field, and/or an instructional designer review their course. Reviewers can give very valuable feedback about issues such as content accuracy, technical quality, and functionality, user acceptability and usability, and issues associated with actually implementing and using the instruction. The SLN MID is responsible for this review and we provide a series of technical and instructional “preflight” checklists to facilitate this process.

Whether a reviewer is used, or not, it is important for faculty to evaluate and revise or refine the structure, materials, and activities they are designing during the development phase of their course. The checklists we provide have been designed to help faculty and our MIDs to evaluate, review, and pinpoint areas in their course in need of revision or further development. A “Teaching and Managing your Course” workshop at the end of this step marks the transition from the development phase to the course delivery phase. Technical and instructional issues are addressed and we provide a roundtable opportunity for new faculty to meet experienced faculty to discuss their on-line teaching. Giving the experienced group the chance to share their tips, strategies, recommendations and to allay and fears or concerns new faculty has been very effective and well received by new faculty.

Step 6: Getting ready to teach
We provide our SLN faculty with a number of recommendations and tips for getting off to a good start. At the beginning of the semester, we encourage faculty to encourage all students to get familiar with the web environment for their course. We provide a moderated student orientation course and encourage faculty to make sure their students prepare for their course by first going through the SLN Student Orientation. We also suggest having a few warm-up activities designed in the first module of all courses to get every one to know each other and to practice using the features specific to the web class environment. This allows students to practice doing the kinds of activities they will be doing in the course, and can be designed to “break the ice,” i.e., introduce the course and the participants in the course to each other, and practice certain activities. It also begins to support a sense of class community, something we have found to be a very important part of an effective on-line learning environment. In order to keep the class moving we recommend that the instructor make sure that there is something “new” for the students at least every two to three days. If students are not moving the discussion along, the instructor might call on specific students to clarify a particular view, or to provide support for a view, comment on existing responses, and invite students to respond again. Or, put a note in the announcements area encouraging students to participate. If some students continue to remain silent, the instructor can send individual students a “prodding” email message. (Faculty need to keep in mind that there may be something preventing a student’s participation such as, a trip, illness, technical difficulties, etc.)

Course Management Tips
· Faculty should log in to their course on a scheduled basis – especially frequently at the beginning of the semester. Students will be wondering “who is out there” and the instructor can help them by responding right away. This gives students a sense of security and lets them know everything is functioning correctly. Setting and maintaining a regular and consistent logon schedule is very important, and though faculty responsiveness is critical, the expectations and workload should be realistic.
· Faculty should respond to all student email immediately. Email should only be used for private communication between student and instructor. If the message is not private in nature instructors should ask the student to post it in the appropriate place in the course.
· Faculty should check for and respond immediately to any student queries in the course itself.
· Faculty should grade and return evaluated assignments to students as quickly as possible.
· Faculty should check to see that students are responding in the appropriate locations in the course and address any problems that may arise immediately. Keeping a course tidy and free from problems, false starts, or empty student documents created by accident keeps the “classroom” running smoothly, cleanly, and free of potential sources of confusion.

Step 7: After you teach–Evaluate and revise your course
In anticipation of this evaluation and revision stage of the course development process, we encourage faculty to keep notes during the teaching phase of their course. Notes on any issues or problems that emerge for them as they teach, or that are commented on by students can help in the evaluation and revision of their course. Thoughts, general or specific, on the design, structure, pacing, and/or sequencing of the course, or of any of their activities should be documented as the course is taught.

This is the last step in the course developer process. Once an instructor concludes the teaching phase of their course they should evaluate the course and their experience and review the notes they made as they taught to assess any improvements and revisions necessary to the structure or activities in their course.

We ask faculty to think about what worked well? What didn’t? Why? What could be improved? How? Were discussions successful? Were assignments and other activities successful? Were students able to complete all the modules in the course? Did most students complete the course? How was the workload for the instructor and for the students? Was the instructor able to keep up? Was there anything missing? Were there any points in the course where students did not do an activity, or did not understand the activity? The checklists we provide to our faculty can be used again in this stage to guide or focus summative evaluations of the course materials.

Conclusion
What we’ve learned and what we know
On-line courses are, by nature, learner-centered and can have more active participation by all students in the class than in a traditional classroom. Without the structure of weekly classes, students are generally expected to take a more active role in their own learning. A fundamental difference is that instead of simply showing up to make their presence known, in an on-line class students must “do” something, for example submit an assignment, ask a question, participate in a discussion, etc. Opportunities for these interactions with the course materials, with the instructor, and with other students must be designed into the on-line classroom.

On-line courses differ from traditional classroom courses in several ways. Since students don’t have non-verbal cues, or the ability to raise a hand to ask questions, learning activities, instructions, and writing must be clear. Faculty must “assume nothing” and anticipate and address student questions. Faculty that are able to assume the perspective of the student as they design their courses and activities are better able to be sensitive to these issues and to create effective on-line learning environments for their students.

We have learned that an effective learning environment consists of well-organized and complete orientation and syllabus information that begin a course and are essential to help orient the students to the course, the instructor, and to what will be expected. In the design of course materials faculty need to pay special attention to the “tone” of their writing, and consistency in their module structure, document naming conventions, and instructional cues. Explicit orientations to each module with due dates, time frames, and details about what the module contains, as well as redundant, clear, explicit expectations and instructions are necessary to insure students are at all times well oriented to the content, activities, and tasks in the course. Faculty should design and create as many possibilities for student interaction as possible, both with the instructor and with others in the class.

Our large-scale production required that we develop ways to train large numbers of faculty and produce large numbers of courses of consistent quality. Using the MIDs, we avoid cookie cutter mass production by working with individual faculty and allowing them and their content to drive the design of their courses. And, we have the opportunity to influence and share best practices across the design of all courses by the same method.

We provide faculty with abundant tips, recommendations, checklists, best practices, examples, observations, and guidelines on what we know works. Included are lists of things to think about when teaching in an on-line environment, tips for making web course materials clearer and more effective, “Do’s” for successful web page presentation, and tips on getting off to a good start. We have compiled lists of tips for effective facilitation of class discussion, course management tips to keep students engaged, and how to deal with inactive students.

SLN Best Practices – An effective well-designed on-line course has:
· Comprehensive Orientation & Syllabus documents – explicit expectations.
· Consistent and complete course “chunks”/ module structure.
· Redundant and consistent instructional cues, and detailed explanations.
· Meaningful and consistent course section and document titles to organize and convey information about the activities, content, and structure of course.
· A detailed orientation for each course module.
· Detailed instructions for each learning activity: expectation, timeframe, navigation, etc.
· Makes course information accessible and redundant.
· Provides students ample opportunities for interaction with the instructor and with others in the course.
· Provides students with opportunities to engage and interact with the content actively. – Directed learning activities.

SLN Best Practices – Effective online instructors:
· “Assume nothing” and anticipate and address student questions in the design of the course.
· Are responsive and present in the course.
· Use directives, first person voice, and conversational tone.
· Are sensitive to the student’s perspective.
· Create complete well-explained online and off line activities.
· Encourage a sense of class community & provide community building opportunities & interactions.

The following are specific examples of some of the course design recommendations that we use:
· Create a non-graded ice-breaking activity in the first module of the course. Using the mechanisms for conducting an on-line discussion in your course, ask students why they took the course. This will help everyone get to know each other. It provides an opportunity to practice and model a good on-line discussion, and students who enroll late, or have technical difficulties, will not be so far behind.
· Encourage a sense of class community and build opportunities for interaction with the instructor and with other students in the course.
· Consider using a self-test the first week of class as a comprehension check on the orientation and syllabus documents for your course. This can make sure that students read that information and eliminate questions later on in the course. It also introduces the testing capability to students in a less threatening way.
· Create navigational instructions that explicitly tell students where to go next and what to do. Don’t assume students will know where to go and what to do next, or for example, what is meant by “discussion.”
· Long documents can be broken up into several shorter documents. A good rule of thumb is to not exceed 4-5 screens for scrolling. On long documents the instructor can inform the student at the top of the page: You may want to print this out for easier reading.
· Use heads, subheads, hypertext, and a document hierarchy to break up long paragraphs. But don’t break them up so much that it affects the flow or meaning.
· Put important information at the beginning of a document.
· Use short descriptive titles for document subjects and Module names. Long titles don’t fit well on the screen, and they lose their purpose. Indicate the type of assignment, due dates, or time frames in the subject lines or Module names and use them consistently throughout your course.
· Use directives, first person, and a friendly conversational tone. Avoid using the third person voice. This personalizes the course for the student.
· Don’t overuse hypertext to link your course pages or to link to other web sites.
· Spell check work.
· Consider creating a prepared welcome email message that can be forwarded to students as they appear in the course over the course of the first week.
· Consider sending out an introductory letter to students that specifies the first off line reading assignments for the first couple of weeks. If they have technical problems they can do the initial reading, know what they should be preparing, and not be so far behind when they finally get on-line. Instructors may also want to design the activities in their course for the first couple of weeks with this in mind.

Effective Navigation
We have found the following strategies effective in making sure students will be able to successfully and efficiently navigate the pages and activities in an on-line course.

Create instructional documents.
Instructors should create documents that set up the directions and expectations they have for their various learning activities. This helps avoid confusion.

Create and use instructional cues.
Instructional cues are the instructions and directions that explicitly help students navigate the pages of the course and learning activities efficiently. Instructions are very important in an asynchronous learning environment. Students need to know what to do, where, when, and how. And they need to be able to access information quickly and without difficulty to avoid distraction. For example, if an instructor wants the students to go to the Discussion Area of a course and to respond to a discussion question, they have to tell them to do that and tell them how.

Use Module, section, and document titles to organize and convey information about the activities, content and structure of your course.
The module, section, and document titles present the organization of the course and all its activities. For purposes of clarity, faculty should consider using titles to specify the type of activity, due date, time frame, etc. The more information that can be put in this framework that the students see from the module view, the more comfortable and confident students will be with what they are to do.

Refer to the Course Navigation bars, links, and buttons.
Course pages on the web will have a navigation bar and links to help students navigate and interact with the pages of the course. Faculty should encourage students to use them by referring to them with instructional cues on their content pages.

Make information accessible.
If students have to travel too far to find what they need in their course by having to click too many successive documents or scrolling through very long documents, there is a risk of disorienting and discouraging them. The structure created by descriptively-named and well-categorized documents/learning activities also makes an on-line course more accessible.

Limit the number of hypertext links per page.
If there are links to web sites outside the course area, make sure students are aware they are leaving and know how to get back. Create links to other modules or to other areas within a module only if necessary. Because of the nature of hypertext it is important to make sure students understand where they are and where their documents are going when creating responses and interacting with your learning activities.

Final Notes
Based on our recent surveys we know that faculty and students are very satisfied with the SLN program and with on-line teaching and learning in general. The two best indicators for the success of our faculty development and course design process are that our SLN faculty and students persist in our program, and are willing to recommend it to their colleagues and other students. Using our process, faculty development, and course design and delivery can be done on a large scale and with consistency in the quality of the teaching experience and environment developed for faculty, and the learning experience and environment designed for students.

SLN Factulty Development Program – history

From, “Factors Influencing Faculty Satisfaction with Asynchronous Teaching and Learning in the SUNY Learning Network: Lessons from Faculty Development” August, 1999.
this section written by Alexandra M. Pickett

“…97.1% of respondents were either satisfied or very satisfied with their on-line teaching experience”
Spring 1999 SLN Faculty Satisfaction Survey

Introduction
This section discusses the evolution of the SLN faculty development and course design methodology as well as the technology used, and processes developed for these purposes. It will outline and demonstrate the sequential steps in the process developed by the SUNY Learning Network (SLN) that have been used to support faculty to develop and deliver over four hundred unique, completely Internet-based courses from forty-two different colleges in the State University of New York system. We believe that this systematic approach is a significant factor in the high levels of on-line teaching satisfaction that we have achieved in our program.

Background
Beginning in 1994, traditional faculty were hired to create online courses for asynchronous delivery into the home via computer. Each faculty member worked with an instructional design partner to implement the course. From the fall of 1995 through spring of 1997, forty courses were developed and delivered, and the instructional designers conducted interviews, made observations and collected empirical data. Our objectives during this period were to identify best practices, synthesize scaleable and replicable processes, develop tools and resources, and implement production.

Rationale
With the intention of supporting faculty and course development on a large scale with relatively limited resources, a scaleable and replicable faculty development process was synthesized based on the research conducted by our instructional designers. The results are a four-stage faculty development process and a seven-step course design process. Developed and piloted in February 1996, SLN faculty development and course design has been an iterative process. Though the original models remain essentially unchanged, each semester, working with an increasing number of “real” faculty and “real” students, our processes, resources, and support continue to evolve and improve. The SLN faculty development and course design processes are implemented through the SLN Instructional Design Team. The mission of the SLN Instructional Design Team is to “help SUNY faculty create technically and instructionally robust learning environments in which to teach and learn.”

This comprehensive approach now includes: an online faculty resource and information gateway, an asynchronous conference for all developers, an asynchronous faculty orientation, a series of workshops for new faculty, instructional design sessions for returning faculty, a comprehensive step-by step course developer’s handbook, a course template, a faculty helpdesk, online mechanisms for faculty evaluation of SLN services, and an assigned instructional design partner to support faculty development and course design.

A critical factor in our successes has been our ability to been to evaluate needs, conceptualize solutions, to implement these with active faculty and students, assess our success or failure, and to apply what we have learned as we begin this process again. For example, initially, wanting to model asynchronous instruction, we developed an online course to teach faculty how to develop an online course. This course was originally designed as a scaffolding mechanism for faculty through the course design phase between face-to-face trainings. Used for three semesters between 1995 and 1996, this course was evaluated by faculty and, based on their feedback, was divided into several of its component parts. It now consists of a printed “how-to” manual that follows our 7-step course design process, an on-line asynchronous conference for new and returning faculty that is moderated by an experienced faculty person, a on-line faculty orientation moderated by our helpdesk, and the SLN Faculty Center of online resources. The on-line faculty conference mirrors our 4-stage faculty development process and consists of facilitated asynchronous discussion on issues of asynchronous teaching and learning. This forum provides opportunities for networking between faculty and disciplines. Within the on-line conference faculty can access links that take them to “live” SLN courses for observation (used with permission) which act as models. We recently implemented a separate online asynchronous faculty orientation using the same template. This orientation is moderated by the helpdesk and is designed to introduce faculty to the online course environment and specifics of how students interact with the course materials.

Structure of the Faculty Development and Course Design program
Our development cycles are offered in a cohort model. Faculty developing courses for the fall term begin in March, and for the spring term begin in September. We now also have summer and winter terms, but allow only experienced instructors, with repeat courses and provided limited support.

Figure 1: Faculty Development and Course Design Process

Method
SLN program uses a GroupWare application call Lotus Notes in conjunction with a Domino server. A course template was designed and developed specifically SLN using Lotus Notes and the Domino server technology. There were a number of significant factors that went into the decision in 1994 to choose this product. The nature of GroupWare in facilitating a collaborative working environment for network and remote users and the absence on the market of any other similar product was key. At the time, Lotus Notes was the only integrated product that offered remote use via replication. It also offered a WYSIWYG document creation and sharing. Ultimately, because Lotus Notes allowed relatively easy development and customization of applications and because it was a robust product supported by a reliable company we decided to adopt it as a platform for our template. We chose to develop the SLN Course Template because, at the time, there were no course management products on the market such as LearningSpace or WebCT. Later, as we moved to the Domino server for the delivery of courses over the web, the fact that faculty did not have to learn, understand or use html or other web page creation technologies, made the domino technology ideal. We began with the premise that faculty should be able to focus primarily on teaching and students on learning and that the technology must therefore be as transparent as possible. The relative simplicity of the SLN Template for course development and a web browser interface for course delivery allowed faculty and students to focus on teaching and learning, not technology.

In addition, we have developed a number of custom database applications to support our administrative, faculty, and student services including:
· A student gateway to prepare students for asynchronous on-line learning
· A “Student Commons” for accessing courses
· On-line (and printed) course catalogues
· An on-line faculty center
· An on-line faculty development conference
· Moderated faculty and student orientations
· Student and faculty help-desk report tracking
· Student and faculty survey data collection

Students access and participate in SLN courses on the World Wide Web using a web browser. Faculty work in two environments in our program:
1. They develop and teach their courses using the SLN Course Template, a custom Lotus Notes application created by SLN for this purpose. The Lotus Notes/Domino server automatically translates the SLN Course Template documents into HTML code. Our internal email system is also an important part of the way we communicate and work with faculty. Faculty work with local replicas of the server databases. The ability work off-line is often cited by faculty as an advantage to our system.
2. Faculty also use the web to preview their course from the students’ perspective as they develop their materials. Access to the web is also necessary to access our many online resources.
Features of the SLN Template
The SLN Course Template is designed to allow faculty to quickly and easily create and manage their course. The template contains a number of documents, forms, and views to create courses.
The template allows faculty to easily:
· Create an orientation and syllabus for their course.
· Manage online discussions, including private small group discussions.
· Exchange private documents with students, e.g., a written assignment, essay, or test.
· Create multiple choice and short answer quizzes and tests with automatic grading.
· Create and organize their lecture notes and other course materials.
· Create a bibliography of resources, including hot-links to web sites.
· Create hypertext within their own materials, as well as to other Internet sites.
· Evaluate, track, and grade students’ work.
· Make announcements.
· Create a course area where the instructor and students can get to know each other and chat about both course-related and non-course related topics.

The SLN Course Template is accessible to faculty on the web during their Course Design Process so that they can see how the course looks and functions from the web. It comes with pre-designed web navigation bars to help students navigate their course with ease. It also contains buttons so that students can ask questions and request technical help from any page in their course. Faculty are asked to complete a Faculty Orientation, which is an on-line course moderated by the SLN Helpdesk. This course uses the SLN template and orients faculty to how their course will function from the students’ perspective.

Faculty Development Process
The SLN Faculty Development process is a four-stage process that includes a 7-step course design process. It is delivered to a cohort of faculty that has prescribed start and end dates that directly precede the term targeted for delivery of the course. A full cycle for a new faculty person consists of a development and delivery cycle. All faculty must go through the faculty development process to participate in the program.

To participate in the program, the instructor’s campus must be a participating institution in the SLN program, and have officially proposed the course for development for a specific term. We also suggest that faculty meet the following guidelines.

New faculty should have:
· At least basic computer skills.
· A willingness to adapt their teaching style to the networked/asynchronous environment.
· Availability to participate in the SLN faculty development and course design program that includes participation in an online conference, observation of live online courses, attending three day-long training sessions scheduled throughout the development cycle at various locations around the state, and working closely with an instructional design partner.
· Time to fully develop and create their entire online course prior to the first day of class.

As course development can be time consuming, we recommend that faculty select a course that they have previously taught rather than develop a new one. It is SLN policy that faculty new to the SLN program develop a single course their first time through the SLN faculty development and course design process.

In our experiences faculty that have been most successful are those that have a passion for teaching, are willing to rethink how they teach and assess learning, are committed and have the time to develop the course completely prior to the first day of the term, and have institutional support for their on-line teaching endeavors. It is important to note that our program targets participation of mainstream faculty, not the technology early adopter. It is the comprehensiveness of our support and the robustness of our technology that enable us to have our high levels of success with mainstream faculty and that contribute to the richness of our growing community of online instructors and course offerings. Some of our finest instructors would never have made the cut had there been technology proficiency requirements for participation in the program. We have been successful in making the technology as transparent as possible so much so that faculty (and students) do not need to know how it works.

Stage 1
All new faculty begin together by reviewing our online course-developers gateway and resources including:
· Links to journal articles and papers regarding online teaching and learning.
· Recommended guidelines for course development for planning purposes.
· Information about the resources, support and services offered to new faculty.
· Access to the All Faculty Conference.

The purposes of stage one are to get the faculty online as soon as possible, so that technology and access issues are addressed right away. It also serves to familiarize the faculty with the program, the components of the faculty development process, and with our web resources for new faculty. Stage one also begins the “reflection” period for faculty where they can begin to think about teaching and learning online in general and about things specific to their discipline and course. From developer gateway, they are instructed to participate in the online All Faculty Conference. This is a facilitated asynchronous resource for all SLN faculty in which they can “meet” colleagues who are currently developing or preparing to re-teach. An SLN veteran course developer facilitates the conference and it includes a Faculty Lounge/Bulletin Board area where faculty can “chat” asynchronously with other faculty. Other highlights of the conference include private small group areas that can be used by the instructional designers with the assigned group of faculty they support, web links to a variety of Internet resources relevant to teaching and learning online, and “live,” model SLN courses for observation.

The conference has a variety of objectives:
· Provides opportunity to network with new and experienced faculty.
· Introduces new developers to the SLN web course interface.
· Models the role of “student.”
· Models effective instructional/course design and moderation of asynchronous discussion.
· Provides an opportunity to participate in asynchronous discussion as students do.

Stage 2
Stage 2 is the “conceptualization” stage in the faculty development process. Faculty continue to participate in the All Faculty Conference and the emphasis is on course design issues. Faculty focus on student expectations, how students will interact and navigate the course materials, the need for consistency, redundancy, explicitness in design and instructions, designing learning activities, and completing the structure of the course prior to teaching the course.

The most important component of stage 2 is the observation of “live” online courses. Course observation is essential for new faculty for a variety of reasons. It allows new faculty to see what a complete course looks like. Through observation, new faculty see how a variety of courses are structured and how each course is unique and defined by the content area and instructor in spite of the use of a template. They also learn about the wide variety of online and offline learning activities that make up a wide range of courses and how courses are organized or “chunked” into modules. Finally they are introduced to different methods of evaluation as different instructors carry it out, and to witness how a course grows and unfolds with the participation of active students.

Courses for observation are selected as model courses. For the fall 99 cycle 18 courses were selected to show a variety of disciplines and approaches to course design. Undergraduate and graduate courses from a mix of SUNY institutions were represented. Among the criteria for selection are:
· Effective instructional design: complete and explicit orientation and syllabus area, consistent module structure, explicit, consistent, and redundant instructional cues for students, well-named modules, sections and documents in the course that convey content or instructional information to the student, clear overviews and expectations for every learning activity, completeness of course.
· Effective teaching strategies: timely responses from the instructor, built in opportunities for interaction with the instructor and other students.
· Effective use of the technology or the Internet.
· Effective collaborative learning activities: discussion, small group activities.
· Effective off-line activities:
· Innovative “work-arounds” for common problems such as science labs or testing
· Model use of any of the features of our course template.
· Various and effective approaches to the structure of the learning materials and activities: by topic, by chapter, by steps in a process, by metaphor.
· Personality of the instructor.

Stage 3
Stage 3 marks the beginning of the 7-step course design process and begins with the first of three face-to-face trainings for new faculty. At the first workshop faculty are given their user names and passwords to our system, and introduced to the course development GroupWare application used by the program including our course template and our email system. In addition they are given their individualized course template, our course developer handbook, and assigned an instructional design partner. Faculty are asked to bring their syllabus with them to the training. The first and third trainings are scripted and led by one of our veteran course developers. We have found that new faculty respond very well to these workshops led by another experienced peer. We suspect that a peer instructor who can speak from experience adds elements of trust and the voice of first hand knowledge to the experience.

The objective of the first training is for each new developer to create the main modular structure of their course in their individual template to take with them when they leave. We call it ‘chunking’ their course. Specifics about the program support and services are reviewed and their next steps are outlined. Though benchmarked by the series of 3 face to face trainings with faculty (each now conducted in five locations regionally to accommodate the numbers of faculty being trained), the course design process is proactively facilitated by the instructional designer according to specific program guidelines and milestones.

During stage three faculty continue to have access to the All Faculty Conference and the courses for observation. In addition, they are given access to the SLN Faculty Center, a password-protected website that builds a personalized web homepage for each faculty person including links to:

    · Send and receive personal SLN and Internet email.
    · The SLN Faculty HelpDesk.
    · Get and submit information such as submitting course descriptions and materials order information.
    · Download the SLN course template database.
    · Check SLN program announcements.
    · The All Faculty Conference, including live courses for observation, a sample course, and a best practices examples area.
    · Access link to the individual’s course on the web.

.
The second face to face training generally takes place about a month after the first training. This provides time for the faculty to begin working in their template. The Instructional Design Intensive brings the faculty back together to discuss issues in the development of online courses and is devised to address the instructor’s specific questions related to the creation of their learning activities. There is a roundtable component of the workshop to identify and brainstorm issues and solutions and a hands-on portion to demonstrate or implement solutions that emerge from the discussion. Tips, recommendation, guidelines, suggestions, and checklists are collected from the participants and existing information is disseminated. Milestones and next steps are outlined as well as programmatic issues so that faculty continue to understand and feel part of the program.

The remainder of stage 3 involves the faculty working on the design and development of their course. The role of the Multimedia Instructional Designer (MID) in this stage is to help the faculty develop technically and instructionally robust teaching and learning environments that are appropriate to the instructor’s style of instruction, content area, level of the students, and technology being used. Faculty work closely with their MID and endeavor to complete the development of the course prior to the final face-to-face training. Using a series of checklists the MID conducts an instructional design and technical review of the course to insure its readiness for delivery. The objective of stage 3 is to complete the course development steps so that during the delivery phase faculty can concentrate on students and teaching the course and not on developing components of the course or dealing with issues of design and technology.

The Seven-Step Course Design Process
Faculty use these steps to guide their course development beginning in Stage 3 of the faculty development process. These steps are followed and supported by all our resources and services including the course developer handbook, the trainings, MID procedures and guidelines, and throughout the SLN Faculty Center of online resources. We believe that our ability to achieve consistent, successful results with faculty is due to the comprehensive structure and integrated nature of our process, resources, support and services for faculty.

STEPSACTIVITIES
Step One:
Getting Started
Create Course Proposal
Fill out Course Profile
Step Two:
Create an Orientation for your Course
Edit/Create orientation and syllabus documents in your SLN Course Template
Step Three:
Chunk your Course into Modules
Set up Modules in your SLN Course Template
      • Step Four:
    Create Learning Activities in your Course Modules

Add Learning Activities to Modules in your SLN Course Template

Step Five:
Walk Through Your CourseReview and walk through your course
Make revisions
Step Six:
Getting Ready to Teach

Learn and practice course management skills

      • Step Seven:

After you Teach – Evaluate and Revise your CourseEvaluate and revise your course

The Multimedia Instructional Design Partner (MID)
The fulcrum of the SLN course design process is our use of the multimedia instructional design partner (MID), not as a collaborator in the design of the course, nor in a clerical support capacity, but as a guide to the faculty. The MID’s role, though part editor, part technical support, is primarily as an expert in instructional design and online teaching and learning. They are also experts our templates and technology and can guide the faculty to the most effective and efficient ways to achieve their instructional objectives. All MIDs are given an orientation to the program and trained in our technology and the SLN faculty development and course design process. They observe courses, complete an online orientation, participate in course design reviews, review and familiarize themselves with our guidelines, tips, recommendations and our course developer handbook. They are also encouraged to take an online course, given a practice template and encouraged to develop an SLN course. They become members of the program’s instructional design team and participate actively in bi-weekly meetings. As part of their training, new MIDs carry a reduced load of faculty, partner with the lead instructional designer for support, and assume progressively responsible roles at the faculty trainings.

The relationship with faculty is a delicate and negotiated role that, in addition to technical and instructional design expertise, requires diplomacy and high level interpersonal skills. We have learned that graduate assistants, experienced faculty, and staff may have pre-existing relationships and roles on campus that can inhibit carrying out the role of the MID successfully.

Currently the SLN instructional design team consists of 4 full time MIDs and 6 campus-based MIDs. The development of the campus-based MID model grew out a combination of reasons that included, limited program resources to add staff and growing numbers of faculty on individual campuses. The programmatic shift from scaling the project to institutionalizing and sustaining the program added logical rationale to a move in this direction. Building a locally available campus resource facilitates campus ownership and investment in the and makes access for faculty convenient. Campus-based MIDs are trained by the SLN program and function as members of the SLN instructional design team.

The MID functions as a single point of contact between the instructor and the program. The MID team is kept up to date on the latest programmatic information, procedural changes, technology or instructional design issues, and provides a forum for designers to share information and tips, and the opportunity to brainstorm and problem-solve solutions to design and technology issues with each other. Working so closely with their faculty and having the SLN Instructional Design Team to rely on puts the MIDs in an advantageous position to share information, strategies, and solutions with their cohort of assigned faculty and with each other. The instructional design team uses a common GroupWare database to post questions, document common issues and solutions, disseminate documentation and share information between meetings. The ID team is geographically dispersed across the state and communicates and shares information asynchronously. Each MID is assigned a maximum of 30 – 40 new faculty to support per term and is responsible for follow-through on the development of their assigned faculty as online instructors and the course design process according to programmatic guidelines and schedules. The MIDs participate in the training sessions for their regional locations.

The comprehensiveness of our processes, resources, support and services facilitate the MIDs in their pivotal role and allow them to do their jobs in a well-documented, organized manner. The unique role of the MID in the SLN program is a distinguishing factor in our faculty development and course design processes and we believe, based on our high degrees of satisfaction with both faculty and students, critical to our successes in both faculty development and course design.

Stage 4
Stage 4 of the SLN Faculty Development Process begins with the third face-to-face training. The Teaching and Managing your Course workshop marks the transition for faculty from the course development phase to the delivery phase. This training prepares them for students entering their course. Program staff explain to faculty how students access the system and access their course and discuss any questions faculty may have. A roundtable discussion with veteran faculty caps the development cycle at this training. This roundtable provides an opportunity for new faculty to meet and talk with experienced faculty, to ask questions, and for our experienced faculty to share what they know and what to expect with new faculty.

Stage 4 is the “pilot your course” stage. New faculty and their new courses are closely monitored during the first 3-4 weeks of the semester by the MID. Weekly check-ins, phone and email communications, and intervention when necessary take place behind the scenes. Faculty are asked to take notes on what is working and what needs improvement as they teach the course to make evaluations and revisions easier the next time they teach the course.

Stage 4 ends with an online survey to assess faculty satisfaction and to help us learn more about teaching and learning online and to help us improve our services, support and resources for faculty.

Conclusion

Faculty performance is not assessed at the SLN program level. SLN does not have academic oversight over courses nor is it in a position to evaluate the instructors or their courses. Campuses deal with these issues on individual basis, most often in ways traditional courses and faculty are evaluated. The program does however have a formal instructional design review process conducted at the end of the course design process and conducted by the assigned instructional design partners. With a series of checklists available both to the instructors and the MIDs, the MIDs conduct the ID review to “pre-flight” the course in anticipation of the first day of class. A formal review report is written and given to the instructor and any recommended revisions are discussed with the instructor and implemented. The ID team marks success by faculty who want to teach again and do, by those that continue to develop new courses, and by those that recommend teaching in the program and by this method to colleagues.
SLN Best Practices – What we’ve learned and what we know:
· Good online instructional practices are independent of software.
· Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
· A well-designed course creatively leverages the options AND recognizes the limitations of the online learning environment.
· Assume nothing.
· If you do something, and it doesn’t work (or it breaks something) . . . Don’t do it again.
· Just because a course is online doesn’t mean it ALL has to be online.
· Asynchronous distance learning doesn’t mean “self-paced.”
· First make it work, then make it pretty.

Specific SLN Best Practices –
· Create opportunities for interaction with students and between students.
· Create/use activities that build a sense of class community.
· Think literal.
· Talk, don’t write.
· Use the structure of the course to convey information about the course, content, task.
· Provide explicit instructions cues and signposts for students.
· Be flexibly firm.
· Be consistent, redundant, and complete in the structure and creation of your course.

Comprehensive support to develop effective on-line faculty includes the following elements:
· Faculty-driven course design– pedagogy must not be imposed by the course management application or the instructional designer.
· Faculty must develop the course themselves.
· Opportunities for reflection, evaluation and revision.
· Opportunities for participation in online courses or discussion.
· Observation of live on-line courses.
· Access to experienced faculty, opportunities for interdisciplinary networking, peer support/training.
· Individual instructional design support and technical support.
· Reliable stable network & technology.
· Template that makes technology transparent.
· Collecting and sharing best practices.
· Resources and support in a variety of media.

Some of our current challenges include:
· Enhancing support and services for our returning faculty -now the majority. Providing the next level instructional design support, evaluation & revision, and providing opportunities for discipline-specific networking and best practices.
· Training faculty at a distance.
· Out -of -term development.
· Training faculty to deliver courses that they did not develop.
· Campus-based MIDs: Transferring our models and processes to the campus. . . Loosing control of the faculty development process and influence on course design.

Final notes
We have now gone beyond our initial questions of what works? Will it scale? And how do we institutionalize and sustain this program? Our questions now include what specific elements of instructional or course design are most effective? What specific on-line teaching strategies are most effective? Does teaching on-line affect/change/improve how you teach in the classroom? And, can our processes, models, generic resources be successfully implemented by individual faculty, departments, or campuses –outside the context of the SLN program? As we continue to grow and evolve we will continue to learn from our faculty and share with them what we learn.

Successful, satisfied on-line instructors have effective course designs and effective teaching practices. SLN has been able to achieve high levels of faculty satisfaction efficiently and consistently on a large scale with a comprehensive approach to the support of SUNY faculty, their development as on-line instructors, and effective support and attention to the instructional design of their on-line courses.