Cal Poly Pomona faculty members are invited to participate in a statewide competition for the best online and hybrid classes.
The Quality Online Learning and Teaching (QOLT) program honors exemplary teaching and learning in online and hybrid classes – hybrids being those that use a combination of online and traditional face-to-face instruction. The program is sponsored by the California State University Learning Management System Services.
QOLT’s goal is to recognize great work and promote best practices in the field, says April McKettrick, senior instructional designer in eLearning. Fifteen CSU campuses are participating in the competition this year.
“We’re hoping that two things will motivate faculty to participate: the opportunity to self-evaluate their courses, and the recognition for excellence both on campus and in the CSU,” says Victoria Bhavsar, program coordinator at the Faculty Center for Professional Development.
McKettrick and Bhavsar will hold two informational brown bag sessions for faculty who are already teaching hybrid or online courses and are interested in participating in QOLT.
The sessions will be held from 2 to 3 p.m., Monday, Nov. 26 and noon to 1 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 27. Both will be held in the Faculty Reading Room at the University Library. For more information about QOLT, visit https://ecatalst.org/our-services/qolt or contact McKettrick or Bhavsar at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, respectively.
eLearning on the Rise
Online education is rapidly gaining interest nationwide, as recently exemplified by Khan Academy founder Salman Khan, who spoke on campus on Nov. 13 as part of the Kellogg Distinguished Public Lecture Series and POLYTEACH.
Faculty can use online instruction and resources as a key part of their courses. For example, discussion boards, blogs, journals, wikis, videos and animation can supplement some face-to-face sessions.
Using online materials forces students to take responsibility for their education, and it allows instructors to spend more in-class time on interaction, rather than lecturing, Bhavsar says.
“They encourage faculty-to-student contact and student-to-student contact,” she says. “It helps the students engage with the material and each other. Engagement is the key we are looking for.”
Making part of the course online also gives students more flexibility, McKettrick says.
“It’s extremely helpful for many students, especially students who have to work or have families,” she says. “From an environmental point of view, it could save gas and save on paper.”
The biggest obstacle facing faculty members who want to create hybrid or online courses is time, Bhavsar says. “It takes a lot of time to build a high-quality online experience.” But instructors shouldn’t feel like that they have to create online courses or materials by themselves.
“We would work with them to determine what would best suit their needs,” McKettrick says.
To get a glimpse of what some Cal Poly Pomona faculty are doing with hybrid and online courses, see eLearning’s Wall of COOL (Celebrating Outstanding Online Learning) at www.cpp.edu/~elearning/cool/.