New report outlines best practices in online faculty development
Online students are playing a significant role in higher education, with 13.5 percent of college students enrolled in a fully online degree program. However according to a new report, teaching online poses different challenges than face-to-face instruction.
“Most faculty members are most comfortable with the interaction that comes from traditional teaching,” said Dr. David Clinefelter, Chief Academic Officer of Learning House and author of the report. “But the skills for teaching online can be developed if institutions ensure they have practices and a culture in place to support and develop online faculty.”
When developing a plan for online faculty success, the report, titled Best Practices in Online Faculty Development indicates institutions should consider:
- Faculty composition. Since online faculty can be located anywhere, institutions have a wider pool of talent from which to choose. Consider hiring part-time faculty who bring the necessary skills, cost efficiency and flexibility.
- Faculty development. Because they are often being located remotely, it is crucial to the success of online faculty that they have access to resources for continuing education.
- Setting expectations. Clearly defined policies for online faculty members – including course-writing expectations, office hours, etc. – should be laid out in the faculty handbook, explained in new faculty orientation programs and included in performance reviews.
- Mentoring. Regular reviews and constructive feedback should be offered, but mentors should, if at all possible, not be direct supervisors.
“Regardless of delivery method, the faculty member is still the key ingredient for an effective class and meaningful student experience,” said Dr. Clinefelter. “Giving online faculty members the tools to succeed is really giving students the tools they need to make the most of their educational experience.”
To download the full version of the report, Best Practices in Online Faculty Development, click here.