June 2018 marks the first month of the Online Faculty Certification and Course Redesign program. The effort is aimed at augmenting the use of best practices in online courses. “Research evidence indicates that coordinated, systemic professional development efforts at the postsecondary level are related to improved student outcomes, including higher retention and graduation rates as well as greater faculty satisfaction, engagement, and sense of belonging” (Condon et al., 2016).
Across the nation, the number of students engaged in online education has risen steadily (Allen, 2013). Online enrollment as a percentage of total enrollment in postsecondary institutions rose from 9 percent in 2002 to 32 percent in 2011, with similar growth rates expected to continue (Karabell, 2013). Sam Houston State University is no exception to this growth.
Thus far, the faculty at SHSU have made significant strides and advances in online learning. At this juncture we are asking, “What more can we do to support you?”
A critical component of successful online education hinges on support, particularly as it relates to faculty development. In a 2016 national study of 3,500 postsecondary faculty and administrators, “support for faculty professional development,” was cited as “the most important factor contributing to a successful implementation of digital learning” (Tyton, 2017). Sixty-nine percent of respondents placed faculty professional development as the top choice from a list of nine factors (Tyton, 2017).
Likewise, when surveyed about “the most significant barriers to the implementation of digital learning,” 74 percent of administrators selected ‘faculty time/effort required,’ from a list of ten impediments (Tyton, 2017).
These statistics point to the centrality of faculty support and faculty development programs as a critical component in the successful implementation of online education.
According to Farmer (2004), “There is a continuing need for rigorous outcome-based research and programme evaluation to define the best components and strategies for faculty development.”
While we are pleased to have launched the first of many cohorts this summer, we expect to learn much from this experience. It is our resolve to welcome your feedback as a means of continuous improvement.
For more information on upcoming development options, please visit the Online Course Redesign & Faculty Certification page. Summer cohorts are full, but new opportunities will be offered in the Fall and Spring semesters.
Allen, I. (2013). Changing course: Ten years of tracking online education in the United States. Babson Survey Research Group. Retrieved from http://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports/changingcourse.pdf
Condon, W., Iverson, E. R., Manduca, C. A., Rutz, C., & Willett, G. (2016). Faculty development and student learning: Assessing the connections. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Farmer, E. (2004). Faculty development for problem‐based learning. European Journal of Dental Education, 8(2), 59-66.
Karabell, Z. (2013). College is going online, whether we like it or not. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/05/college‐is‐going‐online‐whether‐we‐like‐it‐ornot/275976/
Tyton Partners. (2017). Time for Class: Lessons for the future of digital leaning higher education. Babson Survey Research Group. Retrieved from http://Tytonpartners.com/Tyton-wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Time-for-Class-_-2017-Final_3.pdf.