A recent study showed that less than 25 percent of colleges and universities offering online courses and online programs also offer development opportunities for instructors teaching online (Tyton, 2018). Despite the critically of providing faculty support through training, most institutions lack the “staff, time, skills or resources” required to do so (Sorcinelli, Berg, Bond & Watson, 2017).
The opposite can be said of SHSU, where coordinated faculty support is paramount. Between the Professional & Academic Center for Excellence (PACE), The Graduate School, and SHSU Online, faculty have access to a diversified training curriculum in pedagogy, tools, and course management, classroom facilitation, and more.
In an effort to continue such support, SHSU Online will once again partner with other departments on campus to support the training programs of the Graduate Undergraduate Instructor Academy (GUIA). GUIA is the result of a joint effort between the Academic Success Center, The Graduate School, SHSU Online, Newton Gresham Library, and a diverse array of academic faculty/staff. Its primary mission is to provide professional development and certificate opportunities for students employees tied to instruction (i.e. tutors, mentors, teaching assistants, graduate assistants, graduate adjunct instructors).
The collaboration calls for SHSU Online staff to host and lead multiple development sessions on key aspects of online facilitation for instructional support staff. The main focus is on providing topics of coverage that are relevant to those in a TA, GA, or doctoral candidate role. Such topics will include Blackboard Grade Center basics, use of tools in Blackboard to facilitate effective communication, and how to foster a sense of online community and interactivity in online, hybrid, and emergency remote courses.
There has never been a time when providing faculty support via development sessions has been more central than in a time of crisis, which resulted in the necessary transition of curriculum into an online or remote delivery modality. While research indicates that “coordinated, systemic professional development efforts at the post-secondary level are related to improved student outcomes” such support can be instrumental in maintaining instructional continuity (Gyurko, MacCormack, Bless & Jodl, 2016, p. 6; & Reeves, 2012).
This year GUIA will be delivered virtually, and registration for the 2020-2021 academic year will open in July.
Gyurko, J., MacCormack, P., Bless, M. & Jodl, J. (2016). Why colleges and universities need to invest in quality teaching more than ever. Retrieved March 3, 2018, from the Association of College and University Educators: http://acue.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/White-Paper-201611114-Web.pdf.
Sorcinelli, M. D., Berg, J. J., Bond, H., & Watson, C. E. (2017). Why now is the time for evidence-based faculty development. In C. Haras, S. C. Taylor, M. D. Sorcinelli, & L. von Hoene (Eds.), Institutional commitment to teaching excellence: Assessing the impacts and outputs of faculty development (pp. 5-16). Washington, DC: American Council on Education.
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.