Chapter Six: Conclusions

The Ball Needs to Start Rolling Sometime

Given what we have read in the literature and what we have experienced, this workshop should be offered sooner rather than later in an institution's move toward online teaching. Waiting for campus vision plans, buy-in from the faculty, online support teams, etc. only contributes to the "chicken and egg" conundrum.

Any one campus will be at different stages in this process. One campus will have a defined vision, but have nothing else. Another campus will have buy-in from a portion of the faculty, but lack support teams to help implement online learning. A third campus will have the online support groups, often as a result of a campus vision, but the faculty are reticent to dive into online teaching. Staging a workshop such as the Web Course Delivery Workshop helps to pull together what is in place and what is needed on a campus.

Build Upon Successes

When designing this workshop, our suggestion is to build upon the successful strategies used in other faculty development programs on campus. Since the culture varies with each campus, the exact strategies and approaches used in developing the workshop should also vary.

On our campus, much success and positive word-of-mouth centers on our Tech Camp workshop, so this provides the foundation for the Web Course Delivery Workshop. The more positive aspects of Tech Camp, based upon participant feedback, are used as the foundation; and these aspects are discussed in the "Challenges" section on "Faculty Development, Workload, and Compensation."

Have the Faculty Experience Both the Student and Teacher Sides of the Online Environment

Having the workshop attendees experience both the student and teacher sides of the online world helps the faculty members make decisions about their courses based upon first-hand experience. Many potential issues the faculty will face are illuminated in this process, and often the faculty will make changes in their course delivery as a result of this experience.

The amount of work being asked of the students often is not fully appreciated by the faculty until they try it themselves. Once the faculty understand what is involved, they often modify their plans accordingly. This method of involving the participants as both student and teacher is also important in helping them consider how much work is required when managing an online course. Once again, the faculty modify plans as a result of the experience.

Model What You Preach

Making a conscious effort to model sound pedagogical uses of the technology used in the workshop furthers the participants' understanding of the effectiveness of the different technology tools. Modeling a method in the workshop format itself (e.g., hybrid) creates a concrete experience for the learners that follows on the theoretical considerations and discussions that occur in the workshop.

In our workshop, this modeling means moving along the continuum of positivist versus constructivist philosophies in our delivery, and employing a hybrid format as both synchronous and asynchronous interaction is available in the eight-day format. Examination of the effectiveness of this approach is done through assessments, and any necessary changes are made as a result of the assessments.

Assess Everything

Not only are mini-assessments useful learning tools during modules in the workshop, but planned formative and summative assessments help improvement during and after the workshop. Details of the assessments are available and discussed in chapter four, "Workshop Assessment."

Final Thoughts

As we look back on the development of this workshop, we realize how much we ourselves have changed as educators.  In grappling with the challenge of helping faculty develop new teaching methods and skills to enable their students to learn effectively, we ourselves needed to find new ways to teach.  This gave us the opportunity to examine not only what we considered important in teaching, but why. During this examination, we questioned what we believed and what we knew. Eventually we came to realize that in enabling a transformation in our workshop participants we enabled a transformation in ourselves.

Copyright 2005 Barbara Z. Johnson and Bruce D. Reeves