Category Archives: Faculty Development

child learning online

Resources for K12 Teachers Moving Online

Earlier this summer my colleague Jeremy Van Hof and I began to work with administrators and teachers in Okemos Public Schools to plan for and develop training materials for supporting K12 teachers moving courses online during the COVID-19 pandemic. The result was a set of materials and accompanying workshops we titled the Foundations of Successful Online Teaching and Learning series. These materials build off of training programs we use at MSU and have been adjusted for K12 focus.

As school districts across the state began to also move toward online learning we worked with our colleagues at MSU and Okemos to further develop and openly release our materials to other districts across the state. The materials are available in self-study format for teachers who are not in districts with broader access, a Google Classroom site that can be installed at a school or district level that provides materials and opportunities for teachers to discuss with one another, and we have also developed an optional series of live webinars that can accompany the resources if desired.

More information about the Foundations of Successful Online Teaching and Learning series can be found at and the MSU press release is available on MSU Today.

Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels

Model for Professional Development and Course Quality in Online Teaching

The Challenge: What Resources to Draw On When Planning Online Learning

When developing online courses it is often difficult, as an instructor, to determine which resources to connect with at different points of the process. From an administrative perspective, it can also be difficult to determine which supports to invest in and plan for, in order to maximize our impact. As we continue to expand and grow our online course offerings it is essential to provide guidance to faculty, administrators, and course developers about which resources to leverage, and when.

About This Model

This model provides a decision matrix and flow diagram for faculty and administrators as they develop online learning experiences. Designed to leverage existing and emerging opportunities for faculty development, it also allows for short-term scale-up and long-term use in terms of developing new courses, and in updating and revising existing courses. In this sense it aids in moving toward an approach to teaching and learning that relies on continuous quality improvement through tinkering, assessing and revising.

At the heart of the model are a series of professional development opportunities that serve as a sort of menu for faculty members depending on which track they take. The opportunities include Course Development Experiences which help those in the process of developing a new course or module; or Teaching Enrichment Experiences which allow someone to revise, research, add to, or otherwise enhance the work they are already doing online.

This model is meant to be customized for specific units to suit their needs, with governance around which experiences count determined by a group within each unit.

Quality Check Through Peer Review

The model also relies on peer review as being an essential part of the course development and offering process. Peer review is important at both the formative and summative stages of online course development. During the formative stage of peer review participants are put into small groups of 3-4 colleagues. Each member of the team reviews each course in the group using a rubric designed to support review at this pre-offering stage.

After the formative review, each participant creates a short revision plan that outlines how they will use the feedback to enhance their course further. Once the course has been offered, each faculty member will join a second review group for the summative review process. This process uses a larger rubric that includes elements from the formative review as well as elements that expand upon the work that is done while teaching an online course.

Building on the formative feedback and lessons learned during the course offering, this summative rubric (Quality Matters) assesses courses on the following categories: Course Overview and Introduction, Learning Objectives (Competencies), Assessment and Measurement, Instructional Materials, Learning Activities and Learner Interaction, Course Technology, Learner Support, and Accessibility and Usability.

Like the formative review, the summative review also requires a revision plan in order to assist faculty with implementing peer review.

After the summative review process is complete the model allows for a credentialing process that is based on the competency achieved by the participant shown by the artifacts (activities, courses, peer reviews) their experiences helped them to create. The credentialing process could include further funding or development opportunities, a digital badge program, or credit toward promotion/tenure depending on the institution’s goals and culture.

CAL PD for Online flow outline

Author: Scott Schopieray
Contributors: Bill Hart-Davidson, Kate Sonka, Stephen Thomas & Jeremy Van Hof

Mouse, keyboard and notebook

Faculty Working Group on Digital Presence and Public Scholarship

This fall I’m co-leading a faculty working group focused on digital presence and public scholarship. Our working group is a collaboration with the Colleges of Arts and Letters, Education, and Natural Science, and brings together about 20 faculty and academic staff from those areas. While the technical solutions provided through services such as Reclaim Hosting’s Domain of One’s Own and social media services such as Twitter and Medium are at the core of a lot of the work we are doing, they are not the focus. Instead, our focus is on critically thinking about one’s presence online and how that can work to amplify their scholarly work and engage others.

At the College of Arts and Letters, our goal for the larger initiative this working group is a part of is to:

Promote and support efforts by faculty and graduate students in the College of Arts and Letters to critically think about, create, and maintain a robust digital presence that amplifies and enriches their scholarship and enables them to engage the broader public.

We got off to a great start last week with an MSU Academic Advancement Network sponsored event led by Dean Christopher Long titled “Cultivating an Online Scholarly Presence” which featured Dean Long and several faculty members from around the University sharing their digital presence and discussing how they use it in their work. Then we followed up with the first of our weekly co-working sessions where we bring together faculty participants for an hour of conversation, questions, and work on their digital presence. We used the first sessions to focus on mapping out the pieces of their digital presence and identifying the core elements.

I heard some great questions/comments through our sessions and have shared a few below. These are great examples of the critical nature of the work we are doing.

  • How do I create workflows so things are easy to create and update.
  • Does working with website templates make it easier to achieve compliance with accessibility?
  • How often should one you update content?
  • How would using Twitter help me increase the reach of my scholarship?
  • How might I leverage the brand of the institution?

I’m looking forward to what the coming weeks have in store!