SoftChalk Talk

Teaching Well Online at Niagara County Community College

Posted March 21, 2012 in Archives, Uncategorized

Supporting an eLearning program is no small feat! Typically an institution needs a whole team of faculty working to ensure that the eLearning program is successful. To figure out how it’s done, we interviewed the presenter of our upcoming Innovator session, Lisa Dubuc, the Coordinator of Electronic Learning at Niagara County Community College. In this interview she will share information about the eLearning program at NCCC and their “recipe” for Teaching Well Online.

 What is Teaching Well Online and why was it founded?

Teaching Well Online is not really a program at Niagara County Community College (NCCC), but it is the foundation for everything we do to support our eLearning initiatives as they relate to faculty development. I like to think that everything we do or plan is designed to add to our recipe for Teaching Well Online. Every event, professional development, or communication my eLearning department sends to faculty is meant to support the concept, pedagogy, and best practices for “Teaching Well Online at NCCC.”  If you visit our blog, you will see that the type of content we post, tweet, or archive, all relates to our T.W.O. recipe. Our blog “Beyond the Bricks” is dedicated to learning innovation and best practices for T.W.O..

How many lessons or courses are provided to support eLearning faculty through Teaching Well Online?

Our eLearning department supports faculty teaching web enhanced (no reduction of seat time), blended, and online courses. We have over 100 online courses, 30 blended courses, and about 300 web enhanced course sections to support.

I know you use the SUNY Learning Network (SLN), Quality Matters (QM) and the Community of Inquiry (COI) model. How do these three initiatives come together in the course development and design process?  

We are fortunate to be one of the 64 campuses within the State University of New York System (SUNY). The SUNY system offers each of the 64 campuses the opportunity to be a member of the SUNY Learning Network. Through this membership we get help desk, applications, marketing, and education services support. It’s the education services through the SLN that is key to our faculty development success. They provide our faculty the basic training, course design templates based on the COI framework and QM, and faculty resources to support our faculty and eLearning program. NCCC has been a member of the SLN since 2000.

The SLN created it’s course design and development process back in the mid to late 90’s. This model was strongly driven by using the Community of Inquiry Framework. Years later Quality Matters became the most popular evaluation rubric for assessing the design of quality online and blended courses. When viewing the QM rubric you will see that many of the essential standards and rubric annotations include components of the COI framework for designing quality online courses. We use the QM rubric to assess our course design, but since the QM rubric solely looks at the design of courses we use a modified version that included items from the COI framework.

During my innovators session I will provide more details on how we are a part of the SLN and how the education services team is critical to the success of quality course design and faculty development at NCCC.  The collaboration and networking with instructional designers from other participating SLN campuses is really the key to our success. Our SLN Ning is where we share what we know!

We have an excellent faculty model we follow through the SLN, but we are still required to provide faculty development and this is where our lessons in SoftChalk are extremely helpful. We can allow anyone to go through the lessons as they are LMS independent and can be accessed without authentication.

NCCC has shared many of their guides/lessons on SoftChalk CONNECT. Are these available for other schools to use and edit as they please?

Here at NCCC we love using open education resources to support our online efforts and are more than happy to share our content with others. Yes, please feel free to use and edit any of our lessons.  I think you will find our  student success eLearning orientation, Hybrid/Blended course design process, Teaching Well Online at NCCC, and our  NCCC Easy Guides to Accessibility useful. They are all offered through SoftChalk CONNECT under the key word NCCC.


Want to learn more about Teaching Well Online? watch Lisa’s archived Innovators Session, connect with Lisa on twitter @ldubuc, and visit the NCCC eLearning Blog.

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