As online learning becomes more the norm than the exception, college faculty require new skills and tools to help students succeed. In truth, fully remote, in-person, and hybrid teachers need support, resources, and professional development. They must navigate changing curricula, learning modalities, and student needs. Leadership is critical. College leaders can use these five ideations to support faculty for teaching online.
1.) Provide Ongoing and Up-to-Date Training for Teaching Online
First, college leaders can provide training that is both current and continuous. These solutions include training on how to use new technology, such as video conferencing software and online delivery platforms. Faculty also need training in the best practices for online teaching and using hybrid techniques, such as labs and seminars. Moreover, leaders should also participate in the same training their faculty are taking. Leaders will stay in tune with advances, make better decisions, and underscore the importance of faculty training.
2.) Teaching Online Requires Various Tech Tools
Therefore, leaders should ensure faculty have the right technology to meet students’ needs. For example, teachers need high-speed, reliable internet and a quality laptop, a computer, or a device with sufficient memory, RAM, and accessibility. They also need a webcam, headset, digital whiteboard, and screen recording capabilities to communicate with students with ease. In addition, leaders should ensure they choose course delivery and communication software that is easy to use and efficient.
3.) Incorporate Evidence-Based Practices Into Course Design
Likewise, leaders can improve course design by including evidence-based learning. Evidence-based learning strategies benefit all students. They promote inclusiveness and a sense of belonging, provide individualized support, offer peer learning opportunities, and increase student engagement. Practices include active learning, scaffolded collaborative learning, limiting cognitive overload, transparency, metacognition, and self-regulation. College leaders give faculty better tools to help students succeed when they incorporate these practices into course design for teaching online.
4.) Understand Faculty Needs and Sensitivities for Teaching Online
As these changes happen, faculty are under pressure to adapt and transition. For this reason, leaders should ask faculty their preferences for teaching environments, such as completely face-to-face, completely online, or a combination. College leaders should also set up a regular system of checking and reviewing faculty mental health and physical well-being. Therefore, leaders can use this feedback to provide optimal teaching environments and resources for their staff.
5.) Set Clear Expectations for Faculty Teaching Online
Finally, leaders can support faculty by establishing clear standards for how teachers should communicate and interact with students. Because the online learning environment is inherently more flexible, it is easier to become lax in responding to students or meeting deadlines. To help prevent this issue, leaders can set standards. They can require faculty to respond to student inquiries within 24 hours. Besides that, leaders should also set clear working hours, so teachers do not feel overwhelmed or constantly on-call.
To summarize, college faculty need the support, resources, and training to succeed with online, in-person, and hybrid learning. When leaders incorporate these five strategies, both faculty and students benefit.