General News
March 17, 2017
Award Highlights iSchool’s Excellence in Online Teaching and Learning

The Online Learning Consortium has once again recognized San José State University for its leadership in online education. The university recently received the OLC’s Excellence in Faculty Development for Online Teaching Award. Dr. Jennifer Redd, director of eCampus, accepted the award on behalf of the university.

“The OLC Awards recognize the tremendous advances in online learning that result from the ideas and initiatives of individuals and colleges and universities around the world,” the OLC announced.

The SJSU School of Information’s ongoing faculty development programs contributed to the recent OLC award win. Each term, iSchool faculty members attend online workshops in an effort to keep their technology skills current and maintain cutting edge online teaching strategies.

The Teaching, Tips and Techniques (or T3) workshop series is an innovative online peer-training collaborative program developed and managed by iSchool faculty for iSchool faculty. The workshops focus on creative ways to enhance online teaching and incorporate emerging technologies in courses.

“The iSchool T3 sessions have been significant in my development as an online instructor. The sessions have introduced me to new applications ranging from full learning management platforms like Canvas to a variety of smaller applications like rubric generators,” said iSchool lecturer Dr. Debbie Weissmann.

Recent T3 workshops have focused on opportunities to foster a greater sense of instructor presence through the use of software that provides video and audio content, such as VoiceThread, Piazza and Collaborate Ultra. Topics are identified based on the emerging trends in online education, as well as student feedback regarding the online learning environment. Faculty members are also invited to suggest future topics.

T3 coordinator and iSchool lecturer Dr. Sue Alman believes the T3 workshop series is award winning because it benefits both faculty members and students. “The ongoing participation of faculty in educational development, research and professional activities is guaranteed to have a positive impact on the student experience,” she said.

The iSchool’s Master of Library and Information Science degree program transitioned to a completely online delivery model in 2009. Since then the curricula has expanded with a second master’s degree program and several certificate programs—all offered online.

According to Alman, there are many factors that have led to the iSchool’s success in providing superb online learning experiences. “Some of the elements that have ensured high quality standards are the iSchool's continued expert leadership, a dedicated and knowledgeable teaching and research-oriented faculty, and the implementation of new online teaching strategies and technologies.”

In recent years, the iSchool received the Sloan-C Effective Practice Award in recognition of its effective use of the Online Learning Consortium Quality Scorecard for Online Programs and the Outstanding Online Program Award for its MLIS degree program.

The iSchool is also a member of Quality Matters, a faculty-driven, peer review process designed to certify the quality of online courses, and the Web-based Information Science Education Consortium. Through WISE, students can enroll in online courses offered through member schools, expanding the diversity of online education opportunities in the library and information science field.

For more information about the iSchool’s award-winning online learning environment, please download the brochure.