Faculty Support #2
2 The institution ensures faculty receive training, assistance, and support to prepare faculty for course development and teaching online.
Deficient Developing Accomplished Exemplary
iSchool faculty preparation and support begins very soon after hiring and continues through each subsequent semester.
When faculty members begin to prepare their first course, they must complete the Teaching Online course, an online course taught by our Director of Online Learning. They study technical and pedagogical topics and begin to develop their course site with close supervision and guidance. The Teaching Online course consists of eight units, which cover the technology instructors will use, as well as the pedagogy of teaching online. New faculty members also participate in at least one web conference session associated with the class to discuss possible uses of this synchronous communication platform.
After this initial training, faculty members work closely with our school’s Canvas team to develop and their course sites and receive individual assistance. The iSchool provides on-going support for use of the Canvas learning management system. The School has its own Canvas administrator and additional staff to support faculty use of the LMS. Support features include:
- iSchool Technical Support Form (responses are handled within 24 hours, often much more quickly)
- iSchool Canvas tutorials for instructors
To manage curricular review and promote consistency among instructors who teach the same elective course, we use a course-cluster method of coordination and supervision. Each course cluster encompasses a group of related courses under the leadership of three to five full-time faculty members with expertise in these areas. Course Cluster Coordinators review the electives in their cluster as part of our curriculum review process, checking on currency, Course Learning Outcomes, and assignments. With this approach, at least one full-time faculty member is connected to every class offered by the iSchool. Full-time faculty who are part of a course cluster also work with part-time faculty on an individual basis, assisting them with their course design and answering questions.
To view the course clusters and associated full-time faculty leads, as well as a list of all courses in each cluster, view this interactive web page.
In addition to the course cluster support, each new full-time faculty member is paired with a faculty mentor for on-going advice and direction.
Each semester, all faculty members who are teaching are enrolled in a faculty course site in Canvas, the learning management system. This site contains information needed for all aspects of teaching an online course and functions as an important communication hub for current news, questions, and reminders. The Associate Director sends emails at key points of the semester with instructions about what needs to be done. The online faculty handbook provides reference material to guide faculty members through a broad range of topics related to their online teaching. Also see the Faculty Handbook.
Faculty members are encouraged to email or IM additional questions to school administrators for individual assistance. The Associate Director and the Director of Online Learning answer questions about administrative policies, individual student situations, and strategies for carrying out course objectives. The Student Services Coordinator handles administrative questions such as those related to adds, drops, and withdrawals.