A group of Purdue University North Central faculty members have completed the first PNC Online Academy for Course Design. The Academy members learned about the technological and teaching skills that are necessary to design and develop an effective distance learning or hybrid course as well as how to enhance their face-to-face courses, while making use of the Blackboard learning management system.
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In addition, the academy participants were supported throughout the eight-week online course by experienced PNC faculty mentors who are Academy advisors.
This program was presented through a series of modules delivered online and through small-group discussions. Through the Academy, faculty members learned subject matter that included topics such as: course set-up and management; effective student-centered learning activities that meet targeted objectives; how to incorporate discussions and group activities that foster student cooperation collaboration and enhance critical thinking; creating learning activities that adapt to different student learning styles; using various media to deliver information and developing a variety of methods of assessments that adapt to a variety of learning styles.
"Designing effective online instruction is critical in order to ensure academic excellence," said Erin White, PNC coordinator of Learning and Technology. "Research has shown a positive relationship between effective course design and improved online enrollment and increased retention."
The faculty members completing the Academy are Karen Klosinski, Angela Schooley and Kam Chan, with mentor Annette Coates; Debra Pratt with mentor Mary Jane Eisenhauer; Sarah LaDow and Dominic Micer with mentor Bob Mellin; Christabel Rogalin, Mike Lynn and Dan Wilbur with mentor Jim Pula; Susitha Karunaratne and Jerome Mostek with mentor Judy Serwatka; Glynn Bricker with mentor Sarah White.
"What I think was the most valuable about the Academy, was the social experience. When I needed help with a syllabus issue and posted it on the discussion board, several colleagues provided assistance," said Deb Pratt, continuing lecturer of Education
Sarah LaDow, limited-term lecturer of English Composition, stated, "I learned a great deal through the academy, that the Blackboard site can be altered with design. I also learned some great new software, such as Jing."
"My favorite thing I learned was making learning modules and organizing my homepage to make it easier for my students to access the resources I want them to use," said Angela Schooley, assistant professor of Nursing.
The Academy advisors and coordinators were Erin L. White, coordinator of Learning and Technology and David Pratt, director of Learning and Technology.