Musings about lifelong learning, technology, and higher education
Note: This post is a continuation of my last blog post. If you haven’t read it, I’d highly recommend reading it for context.
Brainstorming Faculty Development Courses
In the first months I started my position, I worked with the president and one of the ‘senior fellows’ (a position similar to a depart chair) to brainstorm potential courses. This process occurred over several meetings when I first visited campus and later through video conferences. Here is what we tentatively planned that I would create:
One of the challenges of designing courses with digital badges is determining how much content to include in a single course. There is currently no standard (similar to credit hour formula for Carnegie courses) to determine how much content each badge should cover. I surveyed how other colleges issued digital badges and determined that I would create courses that take about 5 hours to complete. Most of the courses that culminated with a digital badge required, on average, this time commitment, so this is the standard I adopted for courses.
If you are an instructional technologist, instructor, or college administrator, what are some potential courses that you need at your institution? If you have implemented professional development courses, whether or not they culminate in a digital badge, what courses do you offer? Also, do you have a standard for how long a course should take to complete?
Feel free to respond to this blog post - I’d love to hear how faculty development works at other institutions!
In recent years, higher education institutions has experimented with a number of alternative means of credentialing both students and faculty. Rather than issue credits for semester long classes, many schools have experimented with digital badges for very specific skills. Over the next few blog posts, I will discuss the development of digital badges as a means of faculty development at my institution.
About My Institution
BH Carroll began in 2003 as a non-traditional seminary awarding accredited graduate degrees in theology and pastoral ministry. The school is accredited by American Theological Schools and while courses were traditional offered in extension campuses (generally churches willing lend to space), more instruction is increasingly offered online.
About My Position
I was hired in 2017 as the Director of Online Instruction at BH Carroll Theological Institute to ensure the we have consistently high-quality online courses. My duties include auditing courses for quality control and creating learning opportunities for faculty.
As a small institution, BH Carroll relies on part-time faculty to teach specific courses. While there is a corps of regular instructors, the school occasionally adds new faculty to teach specialized courses. Thus, there is a need for systematic training for faculty who might not congregate at a centralized campus. Some new faculty member might have taught at other institutions or have no experience teaching credit-bearing courses (though they normally have teaching experiences in informal settings). Other instructors who have been with institution since its foundation might be more comfortable teaching at extension learning sites, but have not quite mastered online teaching tools.
When hired for this position, I was made aware of the need to move faculty across the ‘technological curve’, so to speak, and was also aware of the unique challenges of training faculty at our school. For one, I am the only person who works in my capacity and live in a different time zone. Second, because of our distributed learning model and small class size, we cannot feasibly conduct synchronous training. Creating miniature courses that culminate in a digital badge seems like good fit for this type of training. Moodle is our learning management system, which supports Digital Badges, so there were few technical hurdles to creating badges.
Over the new few blog posts, I will discuss the development of these courses. So tell me - if you hold a similar position as mine, how have you approached faculty development? Have you issued digital badges or created a certification process? If you haven't created a digital badge certification system, are you considering one?