A re-visioned professional development model for online instructors

Working with my colleague Pilar Hernández and our other POT leaders, I have begun revising the Program for Online Teaching certificate to put pedagogy first and provide better pedagogical preparation for online instructors, followed by tool exploration (see previous post).

The creation of new tasks has given me the opportunity to share, in a more formal way, the articles and videos that have influenced my own practice. You can see some of them listed in the draft page for the cohort of instructors starting to work on the certificate next Fall. The same readings will be used for the cohort finishing by blogging this spring, starting February 1, so I need them ready very soon!

Instead of having workshop attendance be a separate requirement, I’ve encouraged taking workshops (especially for novices) but put recordings of some of our previous workshops right into the weekly assignments as appropriate. This will have the added benefit of making the certificate obtainable in only one year, and (we’ve had lots of requests for this) fully online.

We’ll use Ko and Rossen’s Teaching Online: A Practical Guide (3rd ed) because it has the clear pedagogically-based focus we need, and the latest edition is updated with web 2.0 tools integrated into the chapters.

Pilar also had the idea that instead of the POT leadership feeling responsible for the ongoing monitoring of the multi-author Pedagogy First! blog, we should ask a larger number of folks (including those earning certificates previously) to act as mentors by signing up to host one of the weeks.

Considering that this is a volunteer program (none of us are paid for any of this), we wanted something that was open to all and self-directed, but with specific guidance that didn’t have to be continually moderated by any one person. This has led automatically to an open website and an open blog — anyone can comment and participate, and anyone from anywhere can read along and join us.

This summer, I’ll move the blog to WordPress, so that faculty can use their own blogs (aggregated to the Pedagogy First! site) and allow non-certificate folks to participate on their own blogs but be part of our community.

I’d love feedback!