Marketing to and Developing Faculty Members to Create High Quality, Highly Interactive Online Courses

Marketing to and Developing Faculty Members to Create High Quality, Highly Interactive Online Courses

Jace Hargis (Higher Colleges of Technology, UAE)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4014-6.ch012
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Abstract

In this paper, the author shares a detailed process for soliciting and securing exemplar faculty members, who are ready to redesign and offer their course in a high quality online environment. The goal is to help faculty create highly engaging online learning opportunities as good as or better than their current face to face classes. Interested faculty members submitted a competitive proposal, and were selected to interact in a highly dynamic three day short course. The course introduced and applied learning theories as a mechanism to help faculty develop their materials, so that learners could attend, process, retain and use meaningful conceptually-based material. The outcome of the program was targeted, high quality online courses; word of mouth support and requests for short courses from our law and dental schools.
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Introduction

Although online teaching and learning has been available for decades, many universities have hesitated in offering courses and programs due to the potential fear of a lower quality experience for students. Some initially had seen the move to online courses as an administrative way to save costs by increasing student enrollment without additional infrastructure or staffing. It did not take long before most organizations realized this was not the case, and if high quality instruction was to occur, an equal, if not more attention and cost were required to offer a similar quality learning environment online, as most were use to face-to-face. The internet offered connectivity, however, it has not been until recently that true higher level interactive learning tools have been made available, that are rigorous (both pedagogically and technologically), engaging and discipline specific. In addition, the open access education tools that are now available allow almost any faculty member willing to take some time to learn menu driven templates to create dynamic, worthwhile electronic learning objects. The term Open Educational Resources (OER) was adopted by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2002 at the Forum on the Impact of Open Courseware for Higher Education in Developing Countries. One of the more famous OER projects was the 2001 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Open Course Ware initiative, where the university made available to the world free of charge, their curriculum. Although some cynics believed this might lead to the elimination of teachers, more often, the opposite has occurred, albeit a modified approach in the way teachers can now be more of facilitators and mentors of the discipline, as opposed to strictly content generation. Tangent resources to OER are organizations such as Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org/), which is an “organization that develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation.” This type of organization is a critical supplement for those wishing to create useful educational content without having to capture all of the video, audio and other resources that might go into an e-learning object.

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