Community of Online Teachers

Community of Online Teachers HeaderA Professional Development Project for Faculty Teaching Online
Co-Sponsored by the Center for Instructional Technology and the Center for Professional Development
  • Are you teaching an online course in the fall 2012 semester? Have you taught an online course recently?
  • Are you excited about teaching online but looking for new ways to make your online class engaging for the students and yourself?
  • Are you eager to find new ways to connect with your students online?
  • Would you like to share your ideas, your challenges, and your enthusiasm?
  • Would you like to learn about online instruction with and from your peers, and to have meaningful conversations with other faculty teaching online?

This project may be for you!

The Community of Online Teachers group seeks to create a community of instructors who have (in the past) or are currently teaching online. Recognizing that online instruction offers unique challenges and benefits, we hope that by meeting regularly during the semester we will work together to improve our online teaching abilities. Together we will look at current research and best practices and will explore our own methods for making online instruction engaging and rewarding. We don’t have all of the answers for how to perfect online instruction, but we hope that by working together in a supportive group, we will learn together.

If you have taught online in the past, or if you will be teaching online in the fall, please consider joining our group.

Summary:

Community of Online Teachers is a project model that we have created at NECC for bringing online faculty together to create a community of colleagues who collaborate and partner to better understand the best practices of online teaching and learning.

Description:

Faculty learn much about teaching from meaningful conversations with colleagues. Learning occurs best through communication and collaboration with others, not in isolation. Collaboration builds strong ongoing support that sustains reflection and long-lasting change.

Community of Online Teachers is a one semester project for faculty who are teaching online or who have taught online recently. The project is intended to create a community of colleagues who explore the dynamics of online teaching and learning, facilitation, course design, management and assessment. Participants meet monthly for lunch and discussions of shared readings. Faculty participate in a virtual space, collaborate with a partner as they visit other’s online class, and learn how to create community among their students. Faculty in this project learn how to bring their disciplines to life using their own teaching experiences and transforming them to the online environment.

Structure:

An initial gathering of participants (to be determined based on participants’ availability
At this gathering we will begin to create community, establish guidelines and structure, provide examples of resources, get to know each other and discuss partnering.

Meeting Dates/Times:

During the spring semester, we will use the structured time and format of four meetings to explore issues related to online teaching and to reflect on our own experiences. We will learn more about facilitating collaborative learning and critical thinking. We will explore our relationships with our students, our colleagues and our disciplines.

This semester we will be meeting in Spurk Building from 12 – 1 PM on the following dates:

RSVPs are requested to jcarson@necc.mass.edu or eyarborough@necc.mass.edu, but drop-ins are more than welcome. Snacks will be provided.

Participants may attend Instructional Technology Council webinars and local events available through NERCOMP. More information about these educational venues will be provided during the program.

Online Partnering:

Because learning occurs best through communication and collaboration with others, an ongoing partnership will provide you with the opportunity to share ideas, experiences and questions. We will visit each other’s online classrooms to provide critical/supportive feedback. Partners can maneuver paths created for students to see if they are clear. They can offer support in assessment techniques. They can visit discussion boards and see how the class is going. Tools will be provided to help.

Faculty Collaboration:

We will provide participants a private electronic venue to facilitate online conversation and feedback about problems, pedagogy and daily surprises (both joyous and troubling).

Wrap-up Session:

In this last meeting, we will evaluate the experiences, discuss where we have been, where we might go and ideas for continuing to support faculty in the online learning environment.

Resources:

All materials (research materials, articles, and newsletters) will be provided to guide participants through their online teaching experience.

Criteria:
  • Participants are expected to attend all sessions unless there are extenuating circumstances and be fully committed and interested in the project.
  • Participants must be willing to work with a partner and participate in the virtual online community that will be provided.
  • All members will be asked to complete a questionnaire at the end of the project.
  • Project is limited to ten (10) participants, who will be teaching online in the Fall 2012 semester at NECC .