One of the sessions I went to at WCET talked about two different online instructor training methods used at two different schools.
The first was a mandatory 3-week F2F workshop for all new instructors. The college used mostly adjuncts and has many regional centers. They followed up with a self-paced preparatory bb course or instructors could take a challenge exam. Instructors are given a test Bb site to play around with. Access or use is not being monitored. New instructors were paired with a mentor. It sounded like most of the training was LMS-related. Their big thing was that they create a “Blackboard Wizard” which I thought at first was something interactive but turned out to be just a persona (re: graphic – at least it wasn’t animated!). Basically they chose a theme for the quarter and pushed out (through email) blackboard hints and tricks, functionality, and some pedagogy, 4-5 times throughout the semester. If they received questions then they sent out a replay to all. These emails included step-by-step instructions or movies. They saw the “wizard” as humorous and non-threatening. You could also IM or skpe the wizard for help.
They also started a wizard’s archive through sharepoint blog.
The biggest factor leading to their President making the training mandated was complaints from students about the quality of courses.
The other school was a much larger school and the mandate for a certification program came from the provost to be operational within one year. There is one person working on the project and he also has other duties. They began this fall.
This idea is that the instructor will do this training the semester prior to delivering the class – so as he/she develops the class they are taking this training. Then after completing the 2 or 3 modules they will be assigned a mentor during the semester the course is being taught.
Three, 10-day modules that are cohort based (15-20 learners) facilitated through online format. They anticipate running about 5 cohorts through in both fall and spring semester.
Module 1: Required. Course activities and communication, tying activities to assessment
Module 2: Required. Course goals, objectives, learning activities, facilitating, not directing.
Module 3: Optional, Focuses on current issues in Online learning, or on a specific theme requested. Learners can take this third module at any time, even after they begin teaching. Right now the topic is being generated by one guy but as soon as there are more cohorts, the topic will be faculty generated.
Successful completion is based on participation as well as a reflective piece on what they got out of session.
Requirements: complete 3 modules, teach an online course for at least one semester, initiate a full or partial redesign of an existing or new course. Course must pass a Quality review process (which wasn’t really discussed).
These folks then become mentors.
Requirements: taught online for 1 year, facilitate the instruction of the required 2 modules at least once, and have mentored at least one in the online certificate program
No pay is involved. Except for taking the initial two modules, all other requirements are voluntary. They are working towards coming up with some kind of compensation (equipment, work release, etc.). They are also working on having the Master certification be a part of promotion/tenure but that might only be department dependent.
The hope is that once a good base of instructors have gone through the certification process then the training becomes de-centralized or run by individual departments.
First two module training is at the request of the provost and he has said that he will cancel a class if the instructor does not comply.
They are trying to come up with a mechanism to “test-out” those instructors who have taught online courses at other institutions.