Under the leadership of Dean of Academic and Faculty Affairs Nicola Blake, Area Coordinators of Academic Technology and Assistant Professors of Anthropology Kristina Baines and Maggie Dickinson have launched a bold, comprehensive approach to online pedagogy at the College. Rising to meet the unprecedented challenges of abruptly pivoting to remote instruction at the start of the Spring 2020 semester, the Online Teaching professional development course ensures that all faculty and interested staff are prepared to offer asynchronous, online courses on Blackboard that are in line with Guttman’s Instructional Principles and our commitment to teaching excellence.
Profs. Baines and Dickinson developed the four-week training with critically important involvement from cross-campus stakeholders: Associate Director of AccessABILITY Services Crystal Vasquez and Instructor of Interdisciplinary Studies Nicholas Fortier contributed resources centering neurodiverse students; Associate Director of Counseling Services and Wellness Clinician Courtney Stevenson offered insights into supporting students dealing with trauma; Chief Librarian Amy Beth, Assistant Professors and Information Literacy Librarians Alexandra Hamlett and Meagan Lacy, and Assistant Adjunct Professor and OER Coordinator Samuel Finesurrey created lessons on open educational resources (OER) and information literacy; and Assistant Dean of Equity, Inclusion, and Experiential Learning Lavita McMath Turner curated materials on Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (CRP). Assistant Director of Academic Technology Christopher Roth provided consistent, thorough technical assistance to faculty throughout the semester, including for the duration of each course session.
The Online Course Development Program was designed in the Guttman tradition of learning by doing – by participating in weekly modules within a fully asynchronous online environment, faculty practiced using a range of Blackboard tools and experienced an online course that promotes active learning and builds a sense of community and connection among students. The four modules were: Understanding the Online Learning Environment; Structuring the Online Learning Environment; Effective Online Assessment; and Building Equity in Online Delivery. Faculty partook in a variety of activities and assignments, including discussion boards, quizzes, journals, and breakout groups on creating effective videos; dividing course material into clear modules; providing effective feedback; creating accessible course materials; embedding information literacy; and strategies for implementing culturally responsive pedagogy in online courses. Faculty participants have consistently noted that the training gave them valuable insight into the student experience, which will inform and enhance their online course design.
Beginning with all faculty teaching in Spring II, 100 percent of full-time and 88 percent of part-time faculty have completed the course in addition to several staff. This initiative reflects the College’s intentional investment in training part-time faculty and including advisors and other members of the staff in professional development benefitting our students and the quality of instruction we impart. Two more cohorts are running in July and August. To ensure that this training is widely available for as long as necessary in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is to be archived within Guttman’s unique, digital Center for Practice, Technology, and Innovation (CPTI).