Faculty, instructors and staff recognize that developing and delivering effective and engaging online and blended learning involves new pedagogies and strategies, focused on student-centered learning. To foster best possible results, intensive training workshops, one-on-one consultation, and online tools are offered by centered for learning and teaching and other services.
This summary highlights the myriad of opportunities, highlighted in the Pockets of Innovation Series, offered to faculty and instructors for training, support, and access to resources that facilitate their transition to online and blended learning and teaching.
Professional Development and Training: Amid differing approaches to faculty development among institutions, the Pockets of Innovation Series revealed some consistent principles:
- Blended or online formats are often used for training, so faculty experience the learning and technological benefits and challenges their students encounter;
- Faculty are encouraged to consider these new ways of teaching, assess their effectiveness for their courses and adopt the best strategies for their students and content;
- Online and blended learning are not seen as appropriate for all courses or students;
- Active, engaged learning by faculty is encouraged, with the training modelling best practices for subsequent teaching; and
- Collaboration and sharing among faculty is facilitated, often resulting in later communities of practice.
Many Ontario public colleges and universities offer certificate programs in both online and blended formats, with four to six courses on pedagogy, technology use, instructional design, assessment, and collaboration strategies; these may focus on online and blended learning, as at Lambton College and Western University, or incorporate them into a broader look at teaching and learning. In some cases, including Collège Boréal and La Cité collégiale, these programs are mandatory.
Ontario colleges and universities offer a variety of delivery formats for their professional development:
- Limited to faculty of one institution, such as the program at Ryerson University redesigned for blended delivery;
- Open to faculty at regional groupings of institutions, such as the program available at Sir Sandford Fleming College;
- Available, on a cost basis, to faculty from other institutions from Centennial College and Niagara College;
- Extensive program at Carleton University offered as an open educational resource for all institutions to adopt and adapt;
- Training for full-time faculty at St. Lawrence College focused on blended learning over two semesters, including a series of individual consultations and training sessions, as well as larger group sessions;
- Georgian College with two levels of training, including introductory modules on theory, basic processes of putting course information online, a single app or a skill such as online assessment, complemented by a second level of more extensive training and support for converting a course to online or blended delivery;
- The Ontario College of Art and Design University offering presentations by faculty members recommended by students for their effective use of the learning management system;
- Sheridan College, with a comprehensive portal providing access to resources, beginner and advanced information on the use of digital resources, and faculty training and support; and
- Canadore College, offering training on the use of the learning management system and all its components for course development and management, as well as for assessment and evaluation, collaboration, and communication.
Technology Enhanced Learning Design works as part of a team on all new modules at The Open University in the United Kingdom. Two of their recent initiatives integrate and assess strategies for adaptive and collaborative learning. The Learning and Teaching Academy at the University of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland functions as a hub where staff can access collaborative projects and consultation, professional development opportunities, funding and resources, and a framework for professional recognition. Staff in the Teaching and Learning Unit at the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland worked as part of an inter-institutional team to develop a Postgraduate Diploma in Learning, Teaching and Assessment to suit the requirements of staff working in the Institutes of Technology in Ireland.
In Costa Rica, the Fundación Omar Dengo uses blended learning to offer training on a nation-wide basis to practicing teachers on the most effective use of computers and software for student learning.
In addition to professional development, some faculty are supported in their online and blended innovations through funding, time release, research support, and, sometimes, secondment to the learning and teaching centre. They, in turn, become emissaries to their departments on the benefits of online and blended learning.
Consulting: Staff in the learning and teaching centres often work on a one-on-one basis with faculty to develop online and blended courses, offering expertise in pedagogy, instructional design, technology use for learning, graphic design, information technology, course assessment and revision, and other skills. Among Ontario institutions, Humber College, Loyalist College, and Ryerson University offer different models of how these services are provided. Faculty are also supported in building their own resources, such as games, simulations, tests, and mobile learning applications. At St. Lawrence College and Western University, the professional staff is supplemented by students who work with faculty to help them, as was said by one of these student advisors, “to create resources for excellent learning.”
The Media Center at the Technical University of Dresden in Germany provides faculty with a complete service package, including digital teaching and learning support, research, design and production.
Resources: Staff at Ontario learning and teaching centres create extensive websites with online tools, guides, instructions, and examples, supplemented by links to articles, research, and resource banks at other institutions. For example, Mohawk College offers templates for course development, shells for development of tests, and sample rubrics for marking, along with information on their completion and use. At other Ontario colleges and universities, depositories of open educational resources, developed at the institution or recommended from other sources, are available. Many of the websites of the learning and teaching centres are open access, including those at Algonquin College and Ryerson University, making their wide collection of information and aids for online and blended learning available to faculty and instructors everywhere.
To assist program design and review in Computer Science at Dalhousie University in Canada, a curriculum map showing the inter-relatedness between specific learning outcomes, course content, and course and learning outcome sequencing is in use.
Faculty development and support are critical components of the integration of online and blended learning at all colleges and universities. Starting from a consideration of where, when, how, and, most importantly, for whom online and blended learning can be effective, faculty receive access to courses, consulting, and resources so they can provide students with flexible and interactive opportunities for successful learning.
Click one of the three links below to see a list of the Pockets of Innovation under each category and a link to the specific Pocket of Innovation.
- Algonquin College - Moving Ahead with the Digital College: Mobile learning, open educational resources, and online and hybrid learning at Algonquin College
- Canadore College - Offering Choice: Providing students with options for access to learning
- Carleton University - Online Interaction to Enhance the Learning of First-Year Chemistry Students at Carleton University
- Centennial College - Reflective Practitioners: The Certificate Program in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education at Centennial College
- La Cité collégiale - Moving Online: Meeting student learning needs through online and hybrid courses
- Collège Boréal - Matching Pedagogy and Technology: Providing student choice for effective learning at Collège Boréal
- Georgian College - Faculty Training: Two-stage learning for faculty on designing and developing online learning courses
- Humber College - Serving Students and Faculty: The Centre for Teaching and Learning at Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning
- Lambton College - Supporting Institutional Change: The Learning Innovation Centre at Lambton College
- Loyalist College - Virtual Learning Environment: Developments in virtual reality for learning at Loyalist College
- Mohawk College - [email protected]: Moving to blended learning for student success
- Niagara College - Learning by Doing: Using a hybrid course for faculty learning about hybrid course development
- Ontario College of Art and Design University - Maximizing Student Learning at the Ontario College of Art and Design University
- Ryerson University - Re-Designing the Instructional Skills Workshop in a Blended Format for Faculty Development at Ryerson University
- Ryerson University - Setting the Stage for Student Success: Digital Education Strategies at The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education
- St. Lawrence College - The Hybrid Learning Initiative at St. Lawrence College in Brockville, Cornwall and Kingston, Canada, Teaches Faculty the Finer Points of Designing Hybrid Courses
- St. Lawrence College - Students Helping Faculty Implement Hybrid Learning at St. Lawrence College
- Sheridan College - Focusing on Faculty Development for Digital Teaching and Learning at Sheridan College
- Sir Sandford Fleming College - Before, During, and After Class: Online resources for students and faculty
- Western University - Supporting Online Teaching through Online Learning at Western University
- Western University - Supporting Technology Integration – The Instructional Technology Resource Centre at Western University
Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia - Daedalus: An Online Curriculum Mapping Tool from Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada
- Athlone Institute of Technology, Ireland - The Postgraduate Diploma in Learning, Teaching and Assessment: The Experience of Athlone Institute of Technology, Ireland
- Fundación Omar Dengo, Costa Rica - A Nation-Wide Teacher Training Initiative Focused on Enhanced Student Learning led by the Fundación Omar Dengo in Costa Rica
- Technical University of Dresden, Germany - Offering Digital Teaching and Learning, Research, Design, and Production at the Media Center at Technical University Dresden, Germany
- The Open University, UK - From Idea to Application: Technology Enhanced Learning Design at The Open University, United Kingdom
- University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland - A Hub for the Enhancement of Educational Practice, Scholarship, and Research at the University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland