In 2019-2020, 8 faculty members completed the QLT faculty learning community: all faculty members presented their course design at the end of the Spring 2020 semester, showing evidence of how their design meets the Core 24 standards of the QLT instrument. The QA program continues to involve tenured faculty, tenure track professors, and lecturers, and spans across all Colleges and disciplines and among all formats (blended, hybrid, flipped, and fully online courses). The QA program has been successfully adopted in both major and General Education course (re)design, and its benefits have been felt all across campus, according to the testimonials from previous FLC participants.
Faculty have repeatedly commented on the valuable lessons learned in both pedagogy and the wise use of technology, and they have consistently incorporated tools for additional student participation, interaction, and feedback. These elements have been key factors in drafting the new Policy for Digital Learning that the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate is considering this summer. The revised policy includes language that addresses the benefits of faculty training in relation to digital learning, and strongly encourages faculty to complete the Q1 course and possibly participate in additional training offered my FDEV, including the QLT workshops.
In order to promote a sustainable QA program, responsibilities on campus are distributed among the Office of Faculty Development, the Technology and Learning Program (TLP), Distributed Learning Technologies (DLT), and the Office for Accessible Technology and Services. The QA Lead collaborates with TLP for the workshop design, with DLT to collect data for SQuAIR and with OATS to ensure the cohort meets the 75% accessibility threshold. Lastly, the Faculty Lead works with the Faculty Development Office (FDEV) to manage the QA funding. FDEV is committed to continuing its support to the QA program and has been a strong advocate for it with campus administrators. Since the QA Lead will serve as next year’s Director of Faculty Development, the relations between the QA Program and FDEV are only going to become stronger and more direct.
The campus’ main goal is to continue working closely with Faculty Development and the Technology and Learning Program to train faculty on the implementation of the QLT instrument towards course (re)design. Chiara Ferrari, the QA Faculty Lead for Chico State was appointed Director of Faculty Development and will begin her appointment on July 13th. In this capacity, she will continue leading the QA Program in tandem with Interim Academic Technology Officer Kathy Fernandes. Chiara Ferrari is a certified QLT reviewer and works closely with the Technology and Learning Program (TLP), Distributed Learning Technologies (DLT), and the Office of Accessible Technology and Services (OATS) to increase faculty accountability about accessible content, specifically through the use of Ally.
The QA lead co-authored an article in 2019 titled “Preparing and Training Higher Education Faculty to Ensure Quality Online Learning and Teaching” and published by IGI Global. The chapter discusses the nature of quality online instruction from the perspectives of equity, quality preparation, professional development, and evaluation, and shares the QLT experience at Chico State with international readers.
Campus Training & Professional Development
The QLT instrument was utilized as a key framework for the Go Virtual Summer Institute offered by the Technology and Learning Program and Faculty Development. Below is a sample workshop presentation that showcases how the basic Blackboard shell is designed with the Core 24 standards in mind.
The Academic Senate is considering a revised Policy for Digital Learning that addresses faculty and students’ rights and responsibilities more clearly, and also increases accountability for data security, privacy, and accessibility. The policy also encourages faculty to be trained in best practices of distance education and digital pedagogy, specifically through the QA program.
On the basis of previous years’ assessment and results, the QA Lead is proposing four major goals for 2020-2021:
- Expand the number of faculty funded to complete the local QA Program from 10 per year to 30 per year. This goal will be accomplished by offering a series of 5 workshops that will cover section 1-8 of the QLT instrument. The workshops will be open to all faculty on campus, but only 30 will be funded through the QA program.
- Maintain a threshold of 75% accessibility compliance through the use of Ally
- Include faculty mentors that will work with cohorts of faculty in one-on-one sessions towards the completion of all deliverables associated to the workshops.
- Continue a close alignment with GI 2025 goals by including significant elements of equity and diversity in online teaching and by utilizing historical equity gaps data for each course design. Specifically, the goal is to look closer at DWF rates and equity gaps thanks to a new local dashboard that will allow faculty to look at data by individual sections.
Given the close work and one-on-one mentoring that the QA lead and the Instructional Technology Consultants (ITCs) provide to the faculty, participation in the QLT FLC is usually limited to approximately 10 faculty members per year. This format has proven successful at Chico State, primarily for the opportunity to create rich discussion within the cohorts, but given the pressures put on faculty by Covid 19 and the need to primarily teach online in Fall 2020, the QA team has explored ways to increase the number of faculty that the program can serve.
For these reasons, the plan for 2020-2021 is to design five different workshops that will be offered multiple times throughout the Fall and Spring semester, and will allow faculty attending them to meet the Core 24 standards of the QLT instrument. The QA Lead is planning the details of those workshops in tandem with the Technology and Learning Program, and might be able to launch a pilot version in Summer 2020. The workshops will be organized according to the following structure:
Workshop 1: Introduction to QLT, Course and Learner Support (covering sections 1 and 7 of the QLT instrument)
Workshop 2: Assessment of Learning Outcomes (covering section 2 of the QLT instrument)
Workshop 3: Organization of Course Materials and Resources (covering sections 3 and 5 of the QLT instrument)
Workshop 4: Student Engagement (covering sections 4 and 6 of the QLT instrument)
Workshop 5: IDEAs - Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (covering section 8 of the QLT instrument and specific GI 2025 objectives)
The workshops are designed to cover the core standards included in each section of the QLT instrument, and require to turn in deliverables that guarantee each faculty member is meeting those standards in their overall course design. The QA Lead plans to fund 30 faculty, pending Chancellor’s Office and local funding, while also building relations with College Deans to possibly allow for more funded faculty participation (the plan is to compensate faculty $500 for attending 5 workshops and completing all deliverables associated with them). The workshops, however, will be open to more than 30 faculty, so the goal is to train a significant higher number of faculty through the QLT instrument, and in doing so, addressing campus needs for training in best practices for online learning and teaching. The QLT workshops will be accompanied by optional tool-specific trainings offered by TLP throughout the year and by a faculty learning community on digital pedagogy offered by the Office of Faculty Development. The ultimate goal is to bring various campus experts together to provide a set of comprehensive resources that can address a wide range of faculty needs.