08:23 AM

Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence Makes Strides to Improve Online Education at UHD

Today's students increasingly demand online and hybrid courses that fit into their busy schedules. In fact, online courses make up nearly one-third of all enrolled credit hours at UHD. It is important the University and its professors keep up with changing technologies and continue to develop skills for effective teaching and learning in this new academic environment.

The Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE) is taking great strides to improve online education at UHD in several ways.

Under the direction of the subcommittee on online education, the center has created and made available a Rubric for Online Instruction, which teachers can use to examine course quality through several different parameters, including course entry, instructional design, assessment, interaction, accessibility and copyright.

The CTLE also has teamed up with the Technology Teaching and Learning Center (TTLC) to offer on-demand Blackboard Foundations courses for faculty and to provide training sessions that give professors hands-on practice with technology useful in online instruction, such as lesser known tools in Blackboard. Faculty can easily search and register for the sessions on the University's event calendar.

"This training is valuable because it provides an opportunity for instructors to learn best practices related to online courses, which are different from those used in face-to-face instruction," said CTLE director, Greg Dement. "It will improve the quality of the online learning experience offered by UHD."

Through the CTLE, grants are available for online teaching certification courses as well as for shorter seminars and workshops through Online Learning Consortium (OLC) and Quality Matters (QM), organizations devoted to advancing quality online instruction principles. Registration for workshops and certifications is paid for, and upon completion of a QM or OLC workshop, faculty also receive a stipend.

Several faculty have already taken advantage of this valuable assistance. In addition to the many faculty who have completed short-term, focused workshops, most recently, assistant professor Reynaldo Romero has completed the Basic Certification from the Online Learning Consortium. Associate professor Linda Bressler and professor of urban education Irene Chen have completed OLC's Advanced Certification.

Completion of these these certification programs represents the genuine commitment our faculty have to providing quality online learning opportunities to our students.

As a result of the course, professor Bressler has already made changes to student assignments, created a quality rubric for a new assignment, and updated her course learning objectives.

"This certification took me several steps forward in my online course competency, and I have already shared my new skills with my colleagues," said Bressler. "I am very grateful to the CTLE director and staff for receipt of this grant and I hope my colleagues recognize the wonderful opportunity to learn more about quality teaching in online courses and programs."