Did you know that some of your Weekend College instructors and Lee college instructors are taking classes too? With financial support from the First in the World grant (the same grant that help create the Weekend College), a part of the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), faculty members at Lee College volunteered to get their Teaching Online Certificate from Quality Matters. Quality Matters is an international not-for-profit organization whose mission to promote and improve the quality of online education and student learning. Just like Weekend College, Quality Matters got its start with FIPSE grant. Since it started in 2003, Quality Matters has created a scalable process or a rubric for course quality assurance (https://www.qualitymatters.org/about). The Teaching Online Certificate is made up of seven workshops that take 11 weeks to complete, and that teach faculty the different components of the rubric. The instructors are reviewing and learning concepts related to evaluating an online course design, institutional policies related to online courses, and how to engage and assess online learners (https://www.qualitymatters.org/professional-development/toc). Quality Matters teaches faculty research based best practices related to online courses’ design. Since the Weekend College embraces distance education in the form of online courses and hybrid courses, all involved want to make sure that faculty members are providing the best online courses possible for our students.
Faculty members have found it interesting and challenging to be students again. Like regular students, they have been faced with learning new technology, getting the readings done and finishing the assignments before the deadline; in addition to all the regular teaching and institutional work they do every day. Even with these trials, the instructors are excited about improving their current online/hybrid courses or even creating new online/hybrid courses to offer the Weekend College student and the Lee College student. Using the Weekend College’s cohort model for inspiration, the instructors are also enjoying the smaller learning community component. They have found that they are enjoying having the support of their peers as they progress through the variety of tasks connected with getting their Teaching Online Certificate.
In the last blog, I gave a shout out to our amazing students. In this blog, I want to give a shout out to the dedicated faculty members who are working hard to be the best instructors possible!