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Community Member

How do you work with faculty to improve their courses?

Hi, Fellow IDs:

I work with a lot of faculty at the program and course level in a higher ed institution.

At the course level, I prefer to collaborate with faculty, overcome barriers, agree upon a course design, do the bulk of the LMS work for them, then have faculty review and approve the final product. Of course, there is little budget for that and I mostly have to train faculty to do the work themselves and guide them as they go, adding an extra burden upon them (they have the content expertise and limited time, definitely need to learn more about pedagogy and now need to learn about course design and technology -- not a winning recipe for faculty or their students long-term).

What is your situation? I have not found any articles out there that address the process of ID-faculty collaborative work process in relation to developing and revising courses in an LMS? Can you recommend any resources?

Thanks. Jill

3 Replies
Community Member

Hi Jill,

I generally serve as a faculty mentor, workshop presenter, and local Canvas support. The latter would take up all of my time if I let it, so I often redirect faculty to the 24/7 Canvas Support Hotline, which we are fortunate to have.

Faculty are not generally required to work with me, with a couple of exceptions:

1. Faculty who join our Online College Project receive a stipend (generally around $2500) to develop an online or hybrid course that has never been taught in an online format at our college. To receive the stipend, they are required to (1) meet with me several times while they design and develop the course and (2) undergo a final review by me and their chair and dean. I don't have time to do the bulk of the LMS work for them, but I do offer my own templates and course planning tools. See: Online College Project | Distance Education 

2. Faculty who are teaching online/hybrid for the first time at our college are generally required by their departments to complete my 6-week Online Special Expertise certificate training course, which I offer fully online and hybrid. I'm starting to offer it in an "accelerated" 2-week format paired with in-person Bootcamps. 

I also send out regular video announcements via email with teaching tips and video "tours" of online courses taught by our faculty. I've also been offering live Zoom workshop sessions - the most popular are those with guest speakers from Canvas or @ONE, a state-level Online Network of Educations program for the California Community Colleges system.

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Community Member

I agree with Heather: this is a great question, jbond@samuelmerritt.edu! I can chime in as a faculty member... and one of my biggest frustrations with the support available at my school is that it is focused on face-to-face workshops rather than in developing online support that would be available 24/7, and which would, in and of itself, model the kinds of online presence, interaction, and learning that would benefit our students also. Doing something f2f is inherently going to limit the number of people you reach (people's schedules are all over the place), and some of the workshops they offer leave no online trail at all.

For myself, I seek out online support in other ways (like here at the awesome Community, and also through my PLN built with Google+, Twitter, and blogging) ... but a lot of faculty are not going to participate in online networks beyond their school. I know there are some people here at the Community who have built some fantastic online support for their faculty, and I'll share these great suggestions from Silvia Tolisano about the value of an online learning network and the many benefits it can offer:

Building a PD Learning Hub for your School | Silvia Tolisano- Langwitches Blog 

PD hub from Silvia Tolisano

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Community Member

Hi Jill,

This is a great question. Faculty and ID working relationships are vastly different depending are where you're at. A lot of faculty see IDs as tech support, especially if the ID is housed with IT. Institutional culture also influences how faculty see IDs. Some institutions have a formal process of online course review and approval that includes consultation with an ID, other institutions don't have this, either because they don't have the resources or because the culture hasn't changed yet.

In my case, I'm the only instructional designer at a community college, and I'm housed in the online learning department. I work with faculty in groups during workshops and one-on-one. I'm frequently asserting my role as an instructional designer and working to dispel the belief that my primary role is technical support. There is no requirement that faculty meet with me during the course design process, so a big part of my job is relationship-building and marketing myself. The upside of this is that, because faculty aren't being forced to work with me, our interactions are generally positive. The downside is that there are a lot of people that I could be helping that don't know I'm available, don't really understand what I do, or don't have time to meet with me.

In my previous position, the situation was quite different. Faculty (or subject matter experts) were required to work with me, so rather than focusing on relationship building and marketing, I had to focus more on my diplomacy and negotiation skills.

It sounds to me like, in your situation, you'd like to offer more support than you're able to. You have to guide faculty, rather than do the work for them. One thing that I've found effective is creating situations where faculty can share their expertise with one another. We like to offer workshops that include a showcase or a panel and actively involve faculty in the process. This way, faculty see each other as resources. The other thing I've done that's worked well, since I just don't have the time to work on each faculty member's course, is I've worked with teams of faculty to build out a template (master) course that all faculty who teach that course can copy and modify for their particular program.

I hope this helps! Good luck!