Why training educators to teach effectively online is crucial

Julin Sharp leads an instructional track session at UB Tech® 2019, to be held June 10-12 in Orlando

An increasing number of faculty participate in a certificate track Marist College launched in the 2017-2018 academic year to learn how to master required technology in their online, traditional and hybrid courses.

Research underscores the importance of edtech training and pedagogy for educators as they begin teaching more courses online. “While faculty who lead traditional classrooms are skilled at teaching students face-to-face and are knowledgeable of their content, a lack of training can hinder their success in the online classroom,” says Julin Sharp, director of digital education at the private liberal arts college in New York.

Sharp will share how Marist’s educators successfully transitioned to online learning during her UB Tech® 2019 presentation on Wednesday, June 12, in Orlando.

Since Marist implemented the track, its fully online MBA course has become one of the college’s most successful masters programs. Faculty prepared for teaching this course by participating in the track’s innovation session. “They learned how to use technology not just for the sake of using technology but when it’s needed most,” says Sharp.

The college also had students who recently completed an online/in-class hybrid pilot course taught by faculty who had participated in the certificate program take a survey to detail their experiences. “We found that students were happier and more successful than their peers,” says Sharp. “It was a good balance between proper technology use and face-to-face learning.”

Additional training experiences

Following track training, faculty members typically attend additional workshops to discuss their teaching experiences since then, and to explore technology in more detail. Many participants arrive with new, innovative ways to use their technology and come to find out how to do so.

In one instance, a professor who leads an internship program for social work students took the certification track on using a video platform within the college’s LMS. She learned how to have students interview each other and their internship supervisors using the video platform. “The next class would then get to watch these students share their experiences and their supervisors talk about their business,” says Sharp. “She made it almost like a virtual internship fair.”

Interaction has also spiked between faculty, instructional designers and educational technologists since the track’s inception.

“The more we work to build positive relationships, the better it is for everyone, including the student,” says Sharp. “When faculty are happy and excited about the tech they’re using in their classes, students end up seeing that excitement, get excited themselves, and become more successful as a result.”

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