How to support faculty developing online and flipped courses

Virginia Tech rethinks instructional design and faculty development support

support-faculty-onlineIn an ideal world, we would all have custom, personalized support standing at the ready to provide just-in-time response to our need for guidance and support. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could provide this for faculty developing online courses for our institutions?

But we don’t live in an ideal world; we live in a world of increasing demand and limited resources. The reality is that the assistance and support we provide to faculty developing online courses needs to be manageable, scalable, and effective all at the same time.

At Virginia Tech, we recently went through a period of rethinking, redesigning and revising the instructional design and development support we provide to faculty who are developing online, hybrid, and flipped classrooms. The process of review and revision continues – and always will – but the results of our new approach tell us we’re on the right track. I’ve been asked to share the approach so that others can follow us on this path and make it their own.

Responding to Growth in Online Courses

Like other institutions, we have seen online courses at VT grow steadily and the trend continues. At this point, nearly all of the programs at VT offer some courses online and the others are in the process of developing them. Our current strategic plan calls for us to expand high-quality distance learning and to ensure that faculty have the skills necessary to develop courses with meaningful interaction and active learning opportunities. Along with professional development for faculty, solid instructional design of online courses is key to answering this call.

However, VT is home to just under 30,000 students, about1400 faculty, and only four full-time instructional designers for online learning, each with responsibilities in addition to supporting faculty.

(Next page: Modernizing faculty development philosophy)