1 University Librarian, Dean of University Libraries, St. John's University, Jamaica, New York, USA
2 Department of Accountancy, The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, St. John's University, Jamaica, New York, USA
*Address all correspondence to: Cynthia R. Phillips, Associate Professor, Department of Accountancy, The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, St. John's University, 8000 Utopia Parkway, Jamaica, NY 11439, USA, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The emergency shift to remote teaching and learning that occurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic provided challenges as well as opportunities in higher education. The challenges were many, particularly the immediate need to shift thousands of students and faculty from predominantly in-person classes to a remote teaching and learning environment, regardless of expertise and experience in remote teaching and learning modalities. Adding to the challenge at one particular institution was the implementation of and transition to a new learning management system (LMS) shortly after the onset of the pandemic. With all of these changes occurring at one of the most chaotic times in recent history, it became immediately apparent that any gaps in faculty preparation for remote teaching needed to be addressed in a very short time frame. Responding to this need, a team of professionals collaborated to build two fully asynchronous professional development classes focusing on remote pedagogy fundamentals (RPF) and LMS training. In this paper, the authors describe the process and outcomes of developing the RPF course to support faculty through the transition to remote instruction and share feedback from faculty participants about the most and least valuable elements of the course. As is often the case, significant challenges are accompanied by significant opportunities to learn and change. As a result of the shift to remote teaching and learning, faculty and students had the opportunity to gain valuable skills and insights on best practices for successful learning online, which became evident from analyzing the feedback and course ratings.
KEY WORDS: faculty development, online learning, remote pedagogy, engaged learning, asynchronous online learning, asynchronous course development, COVID-19
Teaching and learning in higher education were in a state of upheaval during the spring of 2020 with the outbreak of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. At a large urban university located in a major metropolitan area with campuses around the globe—having both undergraduate and graduate degree programs predominately delivered in the more traditional in-person modality—administrators, faculty members, staff, and students needed to quickly pivot to a fully online remote environment with little to no lead time. In response to the emergent critical need caused by the pandemic, the university had quickly moved more than 2,500 undergraduate and graduate courses online with the support of a newly established academic task force comprised of a group of academic leaders and administrators in addition to faculty representatives from each of the six colleges and libraries.
At the same time, it became immediately apparent that another precarious situation was brewing on campus that needed to be averted: a potential teacher-prep crisis as the campuses physically shut down, forcing all teaching, learning, and services to shift to an online modality. Working in a collaborative partnership between the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), the Office of Online Learning and Services, and University Libraries, a small team developed a self-paced asynchronous just-in-time remote pedagogy fundamentals (RPF) course using the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS) software program to assist with and support the transition. The RPF course, which takes approximately six hours to complete, was designed for faculty members to take anywhere and anytime. In ordinary times, the university would require faculty members to complete a four-week asynchronous online teaching certification course; however, that requirement was temporarily waived during COVID-19 in order to prepare faculty members for the pedagogical shift from face-to-face teaching to the remote learning environment and enable them to take the RPF course as a precursor to the traditional online teaching essentials (OTE) certification course. This alternative was provided to bridge an obvious gap in professional development for those faculty members who were not yet certified to teach asynchronous and hybrid courses at the university.
This new RPF course would be freely available to all full- and part-time faculty members at the university, regardless of online teaching experience or credentials, although the underlying assumption was that the faculty learners taking the course would have limited knowledge of remote learning pedagogies. Simultaneously, the university significantly increased the number of OTE sections offered to certify as many full- and part-time faculty members as possible. In order to continue teaching, all non-OTE–certified faculty members were required to take the RPF or Canvas Instructor Training (CIT) course since no fully face-to-face instruction sessions were being offered. Attendance and completion of these Canvas courses were tracked and reported to the college deans.
The team members developing the RPF course were faced with their own challenges, not the least of which was to successfully deliver the course in an extremely short time while they themselves were working fully remote. They accomplished this by working within a shared-document environment, brainstorming ideas, adding content, editing texts, and creating a communal repository of useful materials, guidelines, and references. The team developed a syllabus, course curriculum, learning goals and outcomes, teaching modules, engaging activities, self-check assignments, and a repository of additional resources for faculty use at the end of each module. All components of the course were built in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the principles of universal design for learning (UDL). To move as quickly as possible, the team equitably divided tasks and responsibilities, and later assigned individuals with ownership of the course modules. Then, the team set up a structured review process and scheduled periodic planning, coordination, and status update meetings. Within two months, the RPF course was fully developed and released to the faculty.
The collaborative team developed RPF with one primary goal: to better prepare faculty members in a timely manner to teach students in an engaging and effective manner in an online environment. It was about course delivery, not course content. As King (2022, p. 20) noted:
Shulman's description of PCK [Pedagogical Content Knowledge] provides a strong argument for the need to provide teachers in higher education with the time and space required to develop their teaching skills to complement their subject knowledge. This challenges the traditional rhetoric in higher education that knowledge (usually in the form of a PhD) is sufficient in order to teach effectively.
The RPF course was designed to help bring faculty members further along the novice-to-expert continuum for remote teaching expertise, which was why it was designed to include reflective practices, worksheets, journaling, and other activities that would engage the faculty learner with the course content. In her discussion of professional learning, King (2022) identified three modes of reflective practice: reflection through dialogue, reflection through writing, and reflection through pedagogical literature—all of which were key components of RPF. She further conceded that “[w]hether we call this activity reflective practice, deliberate practice, progressive problem-solving or scholarship of teaching, the key point from the expertise literature is that there is intentional and purposeful learning that leads to improvement” (King, 2022, p. 220). The development of teaching expertise requires professional learning that includes deliberate practice, which necessitates feedback both through self-reflection and peer-interactions, as well as the opportunity for progressive problem solving.
In the past decade, there has been an increasing interest in online learning as well as the need to prepare faculty to create quality engaged-learning online experiences for students, making it clear that online teaching required different and perhaps less-traditional instructional pedagogies that went beyond technological competencies. Face-to-face teaching practices do not translate well into a remote learning environment (Lewis & Wang, 2015). In the case of the urgency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, in which hundreds of faculty members at the university were forced to switch from a face-to-face to a remote learning environment, it became imperative that we quickly address a professional learning gap to ensure student success. Of particular concern was fulfilling the need to assist faculty members who had spent their careers teaching in in-person classrooms and would likely have a harder time adjusting and adapting (King, 2022).
As we attempted to do with RPF, Lewis and Wang (2015) successfully developed a self-paced asynchronous adjunct-faculty orientation course built into the university's LMS that included modules with specific learning outcomes and activities, aimed at engaging the faculty learners. They concluded that “[i]t is important that faculty have a holistic perspective of the online environment and understand the students' perspective in online courses” (Lewis & Wang, 2015, p. 117). Likewise, we also designed RPF to model good remote-learning pedagogical practices that we hoped to instill in the faculty learners, enabling them to experience firsthand the lessons being taught.
In their analytic perspective on the literature of higher education teachers' professional learning, Saroyan and Trigwell (2015) emphasized the importance of institutional support for professional learning about teaching and pedagogical practices, prompting us to consider ways in which professional development learning opportunities might be increased and assessed for successful student learning. As noted by Berry (2019), the absence of professional development for online faculty could have serious implications for online students, and that faculty members desired support to develop their online teaching pedagogies with a particular need for guidance on how to adapt their in-person teaching to an online environment along with a space to reflect on how to engage with students and create collaborative learning activities in an online environment. This could be done through intentional training as well as through communities of practice discussion opportunities.
In a study conducted on student engagement in a synchronous online learning environment during the COVID-19 pandemic, Li (2021) found that “synchronous online classroom instruction disrupts the spatial relationship between teachers and students” making it difficult for faculty to engage and interact efficiently. This was particularly true for faculty members who may have been experienced teachers but did not have expertise in the use of emerging technologies. Other contributing factors to student success in an online environment included the ready availability of quality resources and the stability of the teaching platforms such as the LMS (Li, 2021). One solution is to provide training and resources for faculty members to humanize their online and remote courses. Mehta and Aguilera (2020) successfully argued that an ideological approach to this can be achieved through a more inclusive learning environment through a critical lens, going beyond the conceptual constructs of the tenets of UDL to what they term as a critical humanizing pedagogy. Meyer and Murrell (2014) conducted a study on training content and activities for online teaching faculty development, concluding that all practitioners benefit from professional development and institutions can create greater faculty satisfaction with online teaching by providing them with more resources on how to teach effectively in a remote learning environment. We hoped to incorporate these principles into action as we built the RPF course.
RPF was designed to familiarize faculty members with the essential concepts necessary for the shift to remote course delivery by introducing them to remote learning design principles that might be applicable for a variety of classroom scenarios: synchronous, asynchronous, face-to-face, hybrid, and rotating course modalities. The driving force behind RPF was the conviction that assisting and preparing faculty members to teach in any modality was the key to student success during the COVID-19 pandemic—and that these skills would be applicable well into the future.
Another driving factor was the need to make certain that faculty members were migrating face-to-face course content and delivery to be presented in an engaging and inclusive manner, always with the student learning experience in mind. The course content emphasized pedagogy over technology, with a clear focus on learning outcomes. Modeling on what it aimed to teach, RPF engaged learners with three critical student interactions: interaction with course content, interaction with the instructor, and interaction with other students.
Prioritizing the student experience and successful completion of coursework, the university was committed to ensuring that faculty members were able to deliver quality remote courses. As the RPF course was being developed, the team was very aware that for many this would be the first time they would be teaching online or in a hybrid modality. Conversely, it was also the case that this would likely be the first time most of our students were taking online and/or hybrid classes. Both faculty members and students were experiencing reluctance and anxiety, compounded by the emotional, physical, psychological, and financial toll of the devasting impact of the pandemic.
The timing for building the RPF course was essential. The outbreak and rapid spread of COVID-19 resulted in the sudden unanticipated closure of higher education institutions, creating tremendous uncertainty and anxiety every day. To add to the angst felt by faculty members and students at our institution, during this same time the university had decided to make a transition to a new LMS: from Blackboard to Canvas. This complicated matters. The RPF developers had a two-fold job: first learn the new LMS themselves while designing the RPF course. Concurrently, they also built an in-house CIT course, since faculty members across the institution were new to this platform. It was not lost on the RPF developers that they were dealing with a perfect storm of mitigating circumstances. At their institution, prior to the pandemic some faculty members (but not all) had been teaching remotely by using the Blackboard LMS for content delivery. Other faculty members had familiarity with the Blackboard LMS as storage or archival space for their students to retrieve content or documents but not as a learning environment. Still, others had been teaching online using various other software programs and platforms, deviating from the university supported LMS. Furthermore, there was a need to ease some of the rising anxiety faced by students during these uncertain times by helping faculty members develop engaging and individualized remote courses. This would be accomplished by providing just-in-time professional development (i.e., RPF), while at the same time leveling the playing field for students by pushing all content into the same online platform, the new LMS.
RPF had the following four student learning outcomes: (a) to demonstrate a basic understanding of remote teaching and learning pedagogy; (b) to demonstrate an understanding of the principles of UDL as it relates to an accessible and inclusive learning environment in order to create an engaging and interactive remote course; (c) to design course content and activities that help establish an online presence through the instructor's use of regular communication and timely feedback; and (d) to apply the skills learned in the course to design and facilitate an engaging remote-course experience. Additional components of the RPF course included insights on how to incorporate an inclusivity statement into an instructor's course, reflective journal prompts (i.e., applying what you learned), and downloadable worksheets.
Once RPF was made available in Canvas, all full- and part-time faculty members were automatically enrolled in the course. There was no need for them to opt in or register. RPF consisted of five modules including a welcome module, all with embedded activities. The modules were sequenced and locked, with self-checks built into the end of each unit that were required to be completed in order to progress to the next module. All modules included text-based as well as audio/visual materials. As stated previously, the entire course was built based upon UDL principles, and all aspects were fully ADA compliant. The course was divided into five modules (see Table 1 for the list of course modules and content).
TABLE 1: List of course modules and content
|Module||Sample Content Including:|
|Start here||A welcome video message, how to navigate the course, a copy of the syllabus, and a student café discussion board|
|Introduction to remote teaching at the university||A section on shifting to a remote-teaching mindset|
|How to design your remote course for student success||A section on the basics of UDL and guidance for faculty on how to reimagine their face-to-face activities to better engage remote learners|
|How to teach your remote course||Guidelines on how to establish an online presence between faculty and students as well as among students (peer-to-peer)|
|Tying it all together and next steps||Key takeaways from the preceding units as well as a resource bank for each topic covered in the course|
RPF was intentionally designed to chunk the course content into thematic modules. Along with the self-check quizzes, the learning reflections, activities, and journal prompts allowed the faculty members to be fully engaged in learning throughout the course. Instead of approaching RPF as a static asynchronous self-paced course, faculty learners were encouraged to use the module worksheets, first-person journal prompts, and discussion boards to communicate both with the instructor as well as to help establish a community of learners. For example, one of the journal prompts was the following: What are my own feelings about teaching in a remote learning environment? What biases about remote teaching and learning might I be bringing into the classroom? A sample reflection activity read: Consider how and how often you will communicate with your students throughout the term. How will you re-engage students who go missing?
In keeping with best practices, RPF was designed with the learner needs in mind. To ensure the course would be beneficial for all participants, the team endeavored to address and balance several interrelated factors, such as full- and part-time faculty roles, participants with a broad range of backgrounds and skill sets relative to remote pedagogy and instructional technology, and course goals that are both achievable in a reasonable period of time and challenging enough to encourage faculty members to think resourcefully and creatively about their course design and delivery. To accommodate the full spectrum of learner needs, the RPF course provided content and ideas ranging from basic to advanced concepts for quality remote pedagogy. Regardless of skill level and experience, there was an opportunity for all participants to learn something new from the course. At the same time, the RPF developers wanted to be sensitive to the fact that faculty members were balancing learning a new LMS, learning how to use WebEx to conduct synchronous courses and office hours, and managing the complexities of their personal lives during an unprecedented pandemic, which led them to offer ongoing support options that will be discussed subsequently in the paper.
One of the guiding principles the team followed when building RPF was to provide a model example for designing and structuring a quality online course, while educating faculty about best practices for remote teaching and learning. This is where the instructional design and teaching expertise among the design team members came to the forefront. To accomplish this, the team emphasized organization and accessibility of materials and resources, alignment of course content and activities with learning objectives, and creation of opportunities for engagement with the course content and with faculty peers. Furthermore, RPF was built in the new LMS to help faculty members learn how to use technology to support pedagogy.
The course was delivered using a conversational style that set the tone for the learning group in an effort to be a model for faculty participants to develop their own courses with a stance of a guide on the side rather than a sage on the stage (King, 1993). Course objectives were presented up front and activities were created to reinforce understanding of concepts presented and to provide a mechanism for participants to apply their new knowledge and skills. Quizzes, which we called self-checks, at the end of each learning module served as self-assessments to help faculty learners identify concepts they may want to review further (see Figure 1 for samples of quiz/self-check questions). Resources were provided to support further exploration of each topic. Learner automation was modeled by setting prerequisites to complete the content and quiz prior to progressing to the next module. Discussion boards were available to provide a peer-support system, including a faculty café, a space in which faculty participants could engage in informal conversations about the course content, share remote-learning ideas, engage in peer problem solving, and build a community of learners. This was a particularly important course element given the self-paced, non-facilitated nature of the course. The developers were happy to see the faculty actively engaged in the discussion through posts within the course where conversations automatically started flowing, learners grew community and peer mentoring, helped answer each other's questions, or just shared their insights and ideas. Principles of UDL, accessibility, and cognitive load theory were applied to the course content to create a just, inclusive, and accessible learning experience. A variety of media and multi-media resources was incorporated. Course resources were presented in various formats (text, image, audio, and video) to accommodate various learning needs and styles, scripts were provided for video files, and an intuitive interface design was provided. To improve the user learning experience, built-in LMS tools were used, such as the Canvas accessibility checker and immersive reader for audio narratives.
FIG. 1: Sample quiz/self-check questions
To engage the learners, this course provided a selection of hands-on practice activities that the learners might use to apply the concepts in each module to their own remote course. Activities included worksheets, journal prompts, and discussion boards. By completing the RPF course in Canvas, faculty learners became familiar with the digital platform and had the added benefit of experiencing the LMS from a student perspective. Upon completion of the course, the learner was rewarded with a certificate of completion, which automatically unlocked after all of the modules and quizzes were fulfilled. The certificate of completion served a two-fold purpose: (a) it allowed faculty participants to immediately celebrate their achievement and (b) it provided evidence of completing the course for compliance with university policy as well as evidence of a significant professional development activity that could be included in annual faculty activity reports and promotion and tenure applications.
Given the chaos surrounding the emergency shift to remote classes, the course designers felt it was important to provide faculty participants with clearly defined expectations for time commitment such that they could effectively manage their time while juggling competing priorities. To estimate learner time commitment, we used Rice University's course workload calculator (https://cte.rice.edu/workload/).
As mentioned previously in this paper, the shift to remote teaching occurred simultaneously with the implementation and adoption of a new LMS at the university. Two homegrown self-paced asynchronous professional development courses were built to help guide faculty members through the transitions: RPF and its companion course, CIT. As part of this professional development effort, the developers created opportunities for learners to weigh in by creating a multi-channel communications system that allowed learners to provide ongoing feedback, suggestions, or ask questions through discussions and surveys; the RPF and CIT teams responded to learning input through check-in sessions (which we will discuss subsequently) and peer-to-peer dialogue in the discussion board.
Since neither the RPF nor the CIT course included a facilitator to answer questions and provide immediate feedback on activities, the course developers incorporated a system of ongoing support through weekly check-ins with faculty development professionals. The check-in sessions were conducted as open forums via WebEx, where faculty participants could have their questions and concerns addressed by instructional designers, instructional technologists, and the CTL personnel. The check-ins also served as a platform for faculty members to engage with and learn from their peers and to assuage the anxieties associated with these complex transitions. For continued access, check-in sessions were recorded and made openly available through the CTL website.
The RPF and CIT courses were created in a very short timeframe and went live in mid-June 2020 in readiness for the upcoming summer and fall semesters in which all courses would be delivered in a remote learning environment. Check-in sessions were held twice a week during June and July, weekly in August, and periodically thereafter during the semester. In total, almost 400 faculty members attended the sessions (45% full-time and 55% part-time). As attendance at the check-ins waned, the developing team took it as a signal that the urgent need for the open forums had subsided.
While concurrent implementation of remote course delivery and a new LMS added to the complexities in the early days of the pandemic, it also had advantages. Not only did faculty participants learn new skills for remote course delivery, but those who had not previously used an LMS for their courses were compelled to do so, thus learning another important skill that would benefit current and future students.
A brief course evaluation survey was included in the last course module to assess the quality and usefulness of the RPF and CIT courses, and to give faculty members an opportunity to provide feedback and suggestions about their experience in the courses. The course evaluation survey consisted of five simple questions. Faculty leaners were first asked to rate the quality and usefulness of the courses using a star-rating system on a scale from 1 to 5 stars (where 5 = the highest rating and 1 = the lowest rating). Three open-ended questions were asked to solicit feedback about what faculty participants found the most and least valuable about the courses and to request suggestions on how to improve the courses. The data analysis of the results focused on the RPF course feedback.
Enrollment in the RPF course was automatically loaded into Canvas from a database of all full- and part-time faculty members at the university. Participation was greatest in the first few months because it filled a critically emergent professional development need but also because faculty members were required to take either the RPF or CIT course in order to teach a remote course in the summer and fall 2020 semesters. As of June 2022, 292 participants had completed the RPF course, and 217 completed the course evaluation survey. Of those completing the survey, 77.4% did so by August 2020 and 95.9% did so before the spring 2021 semester began. Two-thirds of completers are full-time faculty and one-third are part-time faculty. Course completers were tracked in the university's Banner system such that reports could be provided to the deans to gauge preparedness for teaching courses in remote modalities.
Feedback about RPF from the faculty participants was overwhelmingly positive. Mean averages for quality and usefulness were 4.63 and 4.60, respectively (see Table 2 for frequency data). Qualitative feedback from the open-ended questions was particularly informative in understanding what elements of the course were most- and least-valuable for the faculty participants. The word cloud in Figure 2 summarizes the main themes that emerged from faculty responses to the open-ended questions (in which information, students, learning, teaching, online, course, video, valuable, discussion, and good, topped the most-repeated list).
TABLE 2: Frequency data for quality and usefulness of course
|Quality of Course||Usefulness of Course|
|Rating1||Frequency||Total (%)||Rating1||Frequency||Total (%)|
|Total (%)||217||100.0||Total (%)||217||100.0|
1Rating scale from one to five stars, with five being the highest; data from June 2022
FIG. 2: Word cloud of feedback themes
It was clear from the qualitative responses that the faculty participants learned a great deal from the RPF course and appreciated the effort of the instructional design team who built the course. More importantly, the feedback showed that faculty particpants had grown pedagogically from the experience and would use what they learned to improve their courses going forward. In addition to the summarized results used to create the word cloud, a more detailed analysis of the qualitative responses was conducted.
Survey responses were categorized into themes, which are summarized in Table 3. The majority of survey respondents completed the most valuable question; far fewer responses were entered for the least valuable question. Many survey respondents reported that everything about the course was valuable. (See Table 4 for a sampling of respondent remarks in answer to the following question: What did you find most valuable about the course? See Table 5 for respondent comments to the following question: What did you find least valuable about the course?)
TABLE 3: Most- and least-valuable elements of the RPF course
|Most Valuable||Least Valuable|
|Videos||Over 65% of faculty reporting ‘nothing’ or left this blank|
|Suggestions/examples of student engagement, online presence, time management, UDL, discussions, and rubrics||Not enough interaction among participants|
|Course structure/flow, comprehensive content, and course models best practices||Some videos were too long or hard to understand|
|Provided validation plus new ideas||Too much information, too much text/long paragraphs|
TABLE 4: Faculty participant responses to the following question: What did you find most valuable about the course?
|One faculty participant reflection: "There were some very helpful suggestions, particularly regarding making effective connections with students in a remote setting, using discussion boards appropriately and efficiently, and encouraging students to interact with each other as well as taking responsibility for various aspects of the course. One example would be group work, with different students acting as facilitators."|
|“The fact that it modelled most of what it espoused. I also loved the wrap up at the end and the contact info all in one place.”|
|“The course was informative and well structured.”|
|“Clarity of objectives and general instructiveness—I genuinely learned a great deal, and it served as quite a good model for my own online course.”|
|“Every module had many valuable recommendations, they were presented clearly, and the resources/references were also extremely helpful. Also the last module which recaps all the information in a single page was incredibly helpful.”|
|“Everything! Well thought out and done in a user-friendly way regardless of one's ‘expertise’ with technology.”|
|“All of the information was easily applicable to my prep work for this semester.”|
|“I thought that the selection of videos and the curated resources were excellent. They provide extensive room to grow.”|
|“All of the material, journal prompts and especially the videos and the set-up of tables helping us shift from face to face to online.”|
|“The interconnection between social, cognitive and teacher presence resonated more with me. As most of my teaching life was spent in classrooms, I do not think that I created a balance between the three. I was very focused on the cognitive at the expense of the social. Now I realize that online teaching/learning environment must be inclusive of the three elements.”|
|“Everything. The videos, readings, etc., gave so many ideas about things to think about when designing an online course. It also taught so much about how to have student engagement in an online course. This program also helped me reflect on changes that need to be made with the Spring 2020 course. Although I responded to all of my student's questions and concerns, I did not have good student engagement overall. I need to make the Fall 2020 course more dynamic.”|
|“Videos and pdfs made us aware of issue re learning and environment that, even though were common sense after hearing/reading them, were not obvious at the outset.”|
TABLE 5 Faculty participant responses to the following question: What did you find least valuable about the course?
|“There was a definite pedagogical overload. Far too much to absorb in just a few sittings. There was a fair amount of repetition of broader concepts as well, so that at times, the material became a bit tedious.”|
|“Needs more videos”|
|“Too many videos”|
|“Since there was so much information in the course, I got sidetracked by additional videos and readings. Sometimes I had problems going back to the actual module in order to complete the course. This was particularly evident in Module 1.”|
|“Nothing. Everything was great. This gave me the opportunity to think about the best parts of my face-to-face classes and Figure out how I might use technology to construct a digital version in an online setting.”|
|“Lack of discussion among other participants.”|
In a relatively short amount of time, and taking a collaborative approach, the RPF developers successfully fulfilled a sudden yet critical need to prepare university faculty to shift from a face-to-face teaching and learning environment to a remote modality through the fully accessible asynchronous RPF course. Faculty participants were not only actively engaged with the course content of RPF but were also able to create a community of learners by taking advantage of both the built-in formal opportunities for peer engagement as well as the informal spaces to connect with one another. It is important to note here that, for the most part, faculty members were resistant to taking RPF as a preliminary requirement to teach in the fall 2020 and/or spring 2021 semesters. However, while some took the course figuratively kicking and screaming, it was clear from their feedback that they felt the RPF course was a worthwhile learning experience. In the emerging normalcy of the post-pandemic higher education teaching and learning environment, the critical need for RPF has peaked and plateaued, evidenced by a dwindling number of faculty members taking the course. That said, following a continuous quality improvement approach, participant feedback was evaluated and the RPF course was updated to incorporate faculty feedback, refreshing course content and resources. Furthermore, although faculty members self-reported the beneficial learning that took place in RPF, taking the course is no longer a critical need. Going forward, RPF will once again be reviewed and revised, and newly hired faculty members will be encouraged to take it as part of their professional learning experience.
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