Faculty Development Policies for Teaching Online In support of the Continuity of Instruction
Current policy, previously approved and located on the Center of Online Learning website under the heading Required Training and Professional Development, states:
At a minimum all new CSU faculty members and other faculty members teaching online for the first time are expected to complete CougarVIEW training, Quality Matters Training, Accessibility Course Design Training, and use the CSU Common Course Template.
CougarVIEW Training - Because CougarVIEW is CSU's Learning Management System and the only supported system for the delivery of electronic course content it is expected that all faculty will complete the CougarVIEW orientation workshop.
Quality Matters Training - Because the Quality Matters Rubric serves as the reviewing framework for online learning courses, it is expected that faculty members who design or teach these courses will complete the Quality Matters APPQMR course and any further update training with the release of a revised QM rubric prior to the design or redesign and review of their courses.
Accessible Course Design Training - As outlined in the Online Course Accessibility Policy to ensure CSU's compliance with all laws pertaining to the accessibility of electronic instructional content, it is expected that all faculty will complete the Accessible Course Design training.
Common Course Template – A common CougarVIEW course template is provided to ensure consistency across online courses in the support of student success. The template was designed based on online learning best practices, Quality Matters, and accessible course design. The goals of the template are to facilitate accessibility and promote consistency across CSU online courses. The template includes an Orientation module, which is pre-populated with standard CSU policies, resources for students to access technical and academic support, and netiquette information. The template also contains areas where the instructor must add course-specific information. To request a copy of the template please send an e-mail to email@example.com.
- All courses, whether online, face-to-face, or hybrid, will have essential course materials (syllabus, assignments, course schedule, and grades (in Grade Book) housed in CougarVIEW/ D2L.
Rationale: This policy makes possible instructional continuity should an individual instructor’s courses need to be assumed by another faculty member or should emergency conditions require that some or all traditionally taught classes require that they be taught online. It is an expectation of the University System of Georgia that all institutions develop such plans for business continuity.
- Beginning in Fall 2019, the Common Course Template will be put into CougarVIEW for all courses of all faculty. The template will no longer need to be requested. Faculty should begin using the template for their courses as soon as they are able. It is expected that faculty teaching in Fall 2019 will use the common template for at least one course and that by Fall 2020 all courses will use the common template.
Rationale: This policy makes business continuity much easier to accomplish and also makes it easier for students to navigate through their online courses because the look and navigation will be the same.
Faculty Development for Enhancing Online Teaching and Learning
Several steps/changes need to take place in order to accomplish both business continuity (use of the common course template and the housing of all courses in CougarVIEW) and to enhance student engagement. Some changes will occur behind the scenes and require work by the staff of the Center of Online Learning, and some will involve faculty development. The following represents a tentative plan for achieving these goals.
- COOL must complete the branding of the Common Course Template for each college. Turner College of Business has such a template. The College of the Arts must approve its template. The College of Education and Health Professions and the College of Letters and Sciences will work with COOL staff to complete their templates. Templates will be branded by college but not by department.
- Ensure that all faculty know how to use CougarVIEW. This has been accomplished in the past through CougarVIEW Training, formal and informal individualized instruction and, more recently, by the training “Hit’n the Highlights in CougarVIEW.” Going forward, faculty who have had the training or have been successfully using CougarVIEW will need no further training. COOL will train other faculty (during Welcome Week and at other times during the year) and will develop a web-based version of the training.
- Quality Matters Training and Accessibility Training will continue to be required of all faculty who teach online. QM training is available through both online and face-to-face delivery. Accessibility training has been available on campus and beginning in med-February 2019 will also be available online. Web-based accessibility training is for the benefit of faculty, primarily part-time, whose location or work schedules do not permit their coming to campus for training; it will be taught using a cohort model. Both QM and accessibility training are offered multiple times throughout the year.
Accessibility training is not currently required except by those teaching online and hybrid classes; they are not required of faculty teaching face-to-face. Because learning to make documents accessible is beneficial for all faculty, those not teaching online are encouraged to take accessibility training (Supportive Inclusive Practices).
- The Center of Online Learning will revise its current training practices to provide more focused training sessions to faculty in departmental groups. This training is to begin soon (some departments have already volunteered). There will likely be less variability in the training topics offered in order to focus on those designed to accomplish the goals of business continuity and increased student engagement.
The COOL staff will continue to work with individual faculty as needed. It is anticipated, however, that more group training by departments will decrease the need for individual consultations, allowing the staff to work more efficiently.
- All faculty are expected to become knowledgeable about and skilled in using the D2L Grade Book. Faculty who have been teaching online and consider themselves to be knowledgeable about and skilled in using the Grade Book do not need to be trained in it. All other faculty will need the training. Because the Grade Book is to be used even by faculty not teaching online, this training is important for all.
- All faculty teaching online need to be able to develop instructional media for use in their online classes. Faculty who have been teaching online and are able to create videos to use in their courses do not need to take the training. Faculty who are not teaching online also do not need to complete the training. COOL staff will deliver to department faculty “Best Practices in Instructional Media”.
Students have made it clear that videos embedded in their courses enable them to feel connected to the faculty member, increase their engagement with course material, and enhance their learning.
- Additional training needs may be identified by department faculty. When possible, Center of Online Learning staff will accommodate requests for additional training, but the planned professional development sessions already identified will have priority.
To clarify the required v. optional training offered by COOL, please view the Training Matrix page here.