Last semester’s switch to emergency remote teaching helped students continue to learn and faculty continue to teach through a very difficult time. But as we transition from a reactive position to absorb what we have learned about the experience, Saint Mary’s wants to make sure faculty have the skills to deliver an enhanced online student experience informed by best practices in online education.
Starting in July, Saint Mary’s will offer an Online Instructor Certification for all its instructors at no cost. This will be a series of three, four-week courses delivered by Angela Velez-Solic, Ph.D., director of the Center for Teaching and Excellence and Innovation for Rush University in Chicago, Ill. An expert in the field of online learning, Dr. Velez-Solic has spent much of the last 13 years supporting and training faculty. She has trained more than 1,000 people to teach online from all over the world and is the author of “Teaching Online Without Losing Your Mind.”
The courses will be mainly discussion-based and will move through three progressive levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced online teaching. Upon completion, faculty will be better equipped with skills in instructional design; more aware of what quality online courses and online teaching look like; and acquainted with the foundations of Catholic, Lasallian virtue education and how it applies to online teaching.
The courses are designed to enable faculty to apply online teaching strategies in any learning management system. However, the courses will be offered in Saint Mary’s new Canvas learning management system to give instructors experience using the platform from a student perspective.
As we continue to enhance our students’ online experience, Saint Mary’s will require faculty to complete, at minimum, the first course by the end of their second semester of teaching online.